Alumnus Forged Civil Rights Career Path through Groundbreaking Work with Immigration Clinic

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Abraham Rubert-Schewel

As a law student, former Miami Public Interest Scholar Abraham Rubert-Schewel, J.D. ’14, focused on the areas of immigration law and human rights law, both of which laid the foundation for his career as an advocate.

Working on a Seminal Case as a Law Student

He worked as a legal intern in Miami Law’s Immigration Clinic as a 3L, and his experience with a complex and groundbreaking case reinforced his commitment to justice.

His client was racially profiled, arrested, and unjustly handed over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The arrest was riddled with constitutional issues, including a violation of the client’s Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights. After a lengthy court battle, the Clinic eventually won the case, which was one of the first in the country to recognize that Constitutional violations by local police can warrant the exclusion of evidence in immigration proceedings.

Prior to law school, Rubert-Schewel, a UNC-Chapel Hill graduate, served in the Mississippi Teacher Corps, working in high-poverty public schools in Jackson, Mississippi. As a public interest-driven prospective law student who was motivated by his teaching experience, his acceptance into the HOPE Public Interest Resource Center’s Miami Public Interest Scholars program ultimately led him to Miami Law.

Public Interest Work in Law School

Rubert-Schewel spent his three years at Miami Law focused on a career in public service and ventured down several paths to find his passion. In addition to his work with the Immigration Clinic, he served as an intern at the Office of the Miami-Dade Public Defender and at the Southern Poverty Law Center, where he worked on a lawsuit against a Polk County jail regarding several 8th Amendment violations. He also spent a summer at the Brennan Center for Justice in New York City, where he focused on voting rights projects, such as the drafting process of Amendment 4 in Florida.

Rubert-Schewel advises law students to “cast a wide net and don’t limit yourself to what you think your path should be. Apply to as many things as possible because without that direct experience, you won’t know what your real passions are.”

Law Career in New York City

After graduating from Miami Law, Rubert-Schewel moved to New York City, working for several years as a public defender with The Legal Aid Society and then as a clerk for a federal judge. He continued his commitment to public service when he started his own law practice, Lord & Schewel PLLC, focusing on civil rights advocacy and criminal defense, including the representation of clients who were wrongfully incarcerated or victims of police abuse.

He recently became a partner at the firm of Tin, Fulton, Walker & Owen in North Carolina, where he works on criminal and civil rights cases, including those involving possible constitutional violations committed by police against peaceful protestors.

Rubert-Schewel’s experiences at Miami Law, and the encouragement he received from faculty, administrators and peers, fueled his passion for public service. He says his best memory from law school was “being part of the Miami Scholars Program, because it afforded me the opportunity to be around supportive, like-minded individuals. It helped shape my path in life.”

 

Read more about the Miami Scholars Public Interest Program

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