Student Spotlight: Matthew Escalante ’23

Root-Tilden-Kern Public Interest Scholar

Tell us about your experience in the Immigrant Rights Clinic.

Matt Escalante
Matthew Escalante ’23

While in law school, I've sought to develop practical lawyering skills and learn about immigrant defense from experts in the field. My time with the Immigrant Rights Clinic (IRC) has been one of my most rewarding law school experiences. I had the honor of working with a wonderful client who unfortunately was facing removal from the United States. As part of this representation, my clinic partner and I engaged in negotiations with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and we represented our client in Immigration Court. I'm proud that we persuaded the judge to grant our client's immigration application, thereby allowing him to remain in the US. 

Professors Nancy Morawetz and Alina Das rightly have high expectations of IRC students. They instill within us the importance of providing thorough, creative advocacy and empowering the immigrant communities with whom we work. 

You are the recipient of a Skadden Fellowship, which supports students pursuing public interest careers for two years. Tell us about your plans for after graduation.

I'll be working at Legal Aid Chicago. I will help undocumented youth file humanitarian visas and other immigration applications specific to their survivorship of crime and human trafficking. I will also advocate for their educational rights and the public benefits to which they are entitled. As a former teacher, I'm excited to work with young people again. I hope my project can provide immigrant youth with lawful status, help meet their educational needs, and lessen the chances they encounter punitive systems of immigration enforcement.

What is your favorite part of being a NYU Law student?

I truly appreciate the camaraderie of my classmates. Whether it be the LaLSA community, the Root-Tilden-Kern scholars, clinic classmates, or my 1L study group, they have all been incredibly supportive and integral to my education. Law school can certainly be challenging, but it has been made easier by the kind and inspiring people here at NYU.

Favorite place to relax in New York City?

There's nothing like a walk on a sunny day through Prospect Park.

Posted on May 9, 2023