UC Law SF student Alex Allam emigrated from the Philippines at the age of 17, an experience that inspired him to attend law school and pursue a career in immigration.
“My interest in immigration law was primarily born out of my experience as a whole,” he said. “Upon the realization that almost every aspect of my life here is dictated by laws and statutes, I felt like it was critical for me to learn them to protect my family and my fellow immigrants.”
He is one of a handful of UC Law SF students who will graduate from law school in December.
He said he was drawn to Hastings because of its Legal Education Opportunity Program (LEOP), a program that makes law school accessible to people come from disadvantaged educational, economic, social, or physical backgrounds. Allam said he found the community and support network he needed at UC Law SF through LEOP.
“We shared resources and dreamt about how we will change the world together,” he said. “LEOP basically set the foundation for my entire law school experience.”
Allam was not the first in his family to attend college. His father is a distinguished tax law professor in the Philippines. However, as the first in his family to finish college in the United States, he overcame distinct challenges and barriers.
While at UC Law SF, Allam served as director of communications for Hastings’ Student for Immigrant Rights (HSIR), co-president of OUTlaw, and director of communications for Pilipinx American Law Society (PALS). He said, “Participating and being part of the leadership team in these organizations enabled me to find community within law school.”
Allam worked as an extern for the National Immigration Law Center, providing research support for policy and impact litigation cases. He also worked as a Gender Equity and LGBTQ Rights clerk for Legal Aid at Work, a non-profit that provides free law services to low-income people, and was a fellow for non-profit Immigrants Rising as part of the DreamSF Fellowship for the SF Office of Civic Engagement and Immigrant Affairs (OCEIA).
When he started law school, Allam was undergoing treatment for Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia, and juggled his law school classes in between chemotherapy treatments and hospitalizations. He said, the UC Law SF Disability Resource Program gave him much needed support, “I would not have completed all of these accomplishments without the help of Lisa Noshay Pietro and Laura Andrews Navas from the Disability Resource Program. I thank them for all of their support and being such staunch advocates on my behalf,” he said.
Allam’s success was recognized through multiple awards and scholarships, including the 2021 California Employment Lawyers Association Employee Justice Fellowship, 2021 FBANC/BALIF Pamilya Scholarship Award, 2021 APABA-Silicon Valley/ BALIF Joint Scholarship Award, 2020-2021 UC Law SF Student Leadership Award, and the Summer 2020 Legal Aid At Work Certificate of Recognition.
Allam said he’s interested in pursuing immigration law and business immigration law after graduation. After establishing his career, his goal is to work in policy for the National Immigration Law Center, where he can continue to activate for change, give back, and provide legal support for others.