Victor Nieblas

Adjunct Prof. Nieblas New President of American Immigration Lawyers Association

Adjunct Professor Victor Nieblas Pradis '95

Adjunct Professor Victor Nieblas Pradis '95, an immigration law expert and attorney, was recently installed as president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). Nieblas has been an AILA member since 1997 and served the association as a director on the Board of Governors and as chair of the Southern California Chapter. He is a past chairperson of the Immigration Law Section for the Hispanic National Bar Association, a past Trustee for the Mexican American Bar Association (MABA), and past chairperson of the MABA Immigration Subcommittee.

Q: What aspect of your career as a Loyola student best prepared you for success in immigration law?

A: As a Loyola student involved in the student organization La Raza, I was able appreciate and understand the needs of the immigrant community.  Participating in events with the community surrounding the Loyola Law School campus facilitated the necessary training and experience I would require as an attorney.

Q: Which Loyola class or professor was most pivotal in shaping who you became as a lawyer?

A: The most pivotal class I took at Loyola was Immigration Law with Professor Edith Friedler.  Professor Friedler became a mentor and a longtime friend. Her passion for this area of law created a long line of immigration attorneys graduating from Loyola.  Professor Robert Benson was also pivotal.  He showed us learning the law was not enough; advocating for the change of law was also part of the equation.

Q: What is your advice to law students considering a future in immigration law practice?

A: I have advised all the students I have taught at Loyola during my 13-year tenure as an adjunct professor teaching Immigration Law to get actively involved with community-based organization dealing with immigration issues.  Whether you volunteer or intern at these organizations, you acquire the necessary experience and client contact that will take you to the next level.

Q: How is your practice affected by the fact that immigration is constantly in the headlines? 

A: I love my practice.  Immigration law is never boring.  It is constantly changing with the different political winds in Washington, D.C.  You become an advocate in every sense of the word.  Whether it is advocating for your client before the immigration courts, courts of appeals and the administrative agencies -- or advocating before Congress, the media, or in mass demonstrations -- your advocacy skills become essential to your practice.  You have an opportunity to create change whether it is before the courts in published decisions, or Congress in drafting new legislation.  It is an exciting and evolving area of the law. I want to be right smack in the middle of things. I would not have it any other way!