Camelia Metwally, ’22, is among 31 law students nationwide to be selected for the 2022 Immigrant Justice Corps (IJC) Fellowship. She will serve as an IJC Justice Fellow.

Launched in 2014, IJC identifies promising lawyers and advocates passionate about immigration, places them with organizations where they can make the greatest difference, and supports them with training and expert insights as they directly assist immigrants in need.

Metwally will spend two years with Nationalities Service Center in Philadelphia, which provides comprehensive services to immigrants and refugees, including legal protections, community integration, access to health and wellness services, and opportunities to achieve English language proficiency.

“I am really excited to provide direct legal services to detained and non-detained immigrants,” Metwally said. “While I have done this kind of work before, I really appreciate that the IJC Fellowship offers a lot of training and mentoring, in addition to the support I’ll get at my organization.” 

Metwally came to Michigan Law with an interest in environmental justice. But serving as a student-attorney in the Human Trafficking Clinic (HTC) sparked a new passion for the first-generation Egyptian-American. Most of her caseload at the HTC involved helping clients, the majority of whom were undocumented, with visas and other immigration-related matters.

“I felt energized by the work in a way I hadn’t before, and it resonated with me as the daughter of immigrants,” she said. “I also enjoyed the unique type of legal writing—very narrative-based—that it required. In addition, I loved direct services. And I’ve always been interested in things from an international perspective, which naturally comes in when you’re dealing with immigration law and refugee work. So immigration law checked a lot of boxes for me.”

Metwally gained additional experience providing direct legal services to immigrants and refugees when she spent a semester in South Africa through Michigan Law’s global externship program. She worked at the University of Cape Town’s Refugee Rights Unit, where she often met with as many as eight clients per day.

She conducted refugee status determination interviews to see if potential clients fell within the clinic’s mandate. She also dealt with matters ranging from newcomers seeking to legitimize their status to long-term refugees navigating education-related or socioeconomic rights.

As an IJC Fellow, Metwally is excited to put her skills and experience to work in a new way. “My favorite moments as a student-attorney were when I was helping my clients feel empowered— making sure the clients knew they were in charge and that we were working together to try to get this relief. Now that I am beginning my legal career, I’m excited to build on my previous experiences and see what I’m capable of.”