Murthy Law Firm Employee Profile : Alissa Klein, Attorney12 Mar 2010
Alissa Klein has always been interested in people. As an undergraduate at University of California at Santa Cruz, Alissa majored in sociology. After graduation, she took a job in human resources at a staffing and placement firm, but ultimately decided to return to school to study immigration law. “I wanted to be in a field that centers on people. I was never a number-cruncher, and other transactional work didn’t really interest me. I love hearing people’s stories, and I’m fascinated with other cultures and where people come from.”
In part, Alissa’s interest in immigration law stems from her own personal story, as the daughter of Holocaust survivors who left Europe after World War II. “My mom and her family went through the immigration process as Displaced Persons, and they came here with nothing – no money, no degrees – and they had to start over; but the kids got advanced degrees, and really made it, eventually. Seeing what they came from, and the opportunities they had, and comparing it to what I had growing up, I know how lucky I am to live here.” For Alissa, practicing immigration law is a way of giving back.
When Alissa began looking at law schools, she was attracted to Tulane University’s program because they had an immigration clinic. “As it turned out, the immigration clinic closed the year I arrived at Tulane. I wasn’t happy about that, but I got involved with some interesting pro bono work, doing family law. Eventually, I was able to get an internship at the Immigration Court in New Orleans. It was interesting talking to the judges who had to decide these cases. You would listen to people’s stories, and it was hard not to be sympathetic, but you knew the legal standards, and knew the decisions had to be made according to the law, not based on feeling.”
After graduation, Alissa clerked for a large immigration firm, doing employment-based immigration cases. “This was great experience. It was a real crash course in the bread-and-butter of private practice immigration work.” Later that year, after being admitted to the bar, Alissa took a new job at a small immigration firm. Almost three years later, Alissa joined the Murthy Law Firm, where she now is a supervising attorney, focusing mostly on employment-based immigration cases.
Alissa says she really enjoys her work at the Murthy Law Firm. “I have such a high degree of respect for everyone here, at all levels. It’s great to be surrounded by this level of enthusiasm every day. When everyone has this level of drive, it creates a really supportive environment, and a good basis for teamwork. Everyone really wants to see each other succeed, and see our clients succeed. It’s great to be able to help clients to get where they want to be.”