September 30, 2020

Samantha Rogers and Monica Sameni
(L to R) Samantha Rogers and Monica Sameni 

That start of a new school year is exciting for all law students, but the start of this year has been especially exciting for Catholic Law third-year students Monica Sameni and Samantha Rogers. Both Sameni and Rogers are student lawyers in the Families and the Law Clinic (FALC) at Catholic Law and who recently received a favorable ruling on all issues in their Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) case in Prince George’s County Circuit Court.

FALC, like the other clinics in Columbus Community Legal Services (CCLS), is designed to help students develop lawyering skills through practical experience. Students working in FALC take on cases of domestic violence, family law, and immigration law. Students have full responsibility for every aspect of their case—from drafting legal memoranda and pleadings to preparing and arguing motions, to even conducting the trials before the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. Catholic Law Professor and CCLS Director Catherine Klein said about their work on the case, “Monica Sameni and Samantha Rogers handled the hearing and did an excellent job.”

Sameni and Rogers both spoke about their experiences with the case. Sameni shared, “I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the Families in the Law Clinic as I plan to eventually become a litigator and specialize in family law. Due to the effects of COVID-19, the case was delayed, and finally, a virtual hearing was held, which was a new experience for my team. I am very proud we were able to get an outcome favorable on custody and findings for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status for our client.”

Rogers added, “I was incredibly nervous when I found out Monica and I would be presenting our client’s case in a virtual hearing with the judge during the first week of school. Your first hearing is a daunting feat in and of itself, but it is especially nerve-racking with the added pressures of new classes, little time for preparation, and the potential for technology issues. I was pleasantly surprised at how seamless our virtual hearing went. Arguing before the judge was an exhilarating experience, and the moment we heard a favorable outcome for our client is one I will never forget. In that moment, I truly almost cried because of how elated I was for our client. It was an adrenaline rush like I have never experienced before, and I was so excited for our client at this news. Hearing our outcome reaffirmed our hard work and late-night preparation to make this hearing a success; but, most importantly, it reaffirmed my love and passion for helping others secure access to legal services. This is the work I want to dedicate my career to doing, and this is a case I will never forget.”