A law degree from MSU College of Law gave Maricela Amezola the tools needed for a successful immigration law practice in San Diego. Amezola, who graduated in 2006, says her time at MSU Law still serves her well.
“MSU Law gives you the tools you need to succeed, to strategize,” she says. “Some of the professors were very tough, but they taught me to think on my feet. I do a lot of deportation defense now, and the judges ask you a lot of questions. I also took various research classes, and I still refer to my notes.”
After completing her bachelor’s degree, Amezola decided to work at a law firm for a year to be sure of her chosen path. After meeting representatives from law schools around the country at a Law School Admission Council convention in Los Angeles, she decided to enroll at MSU Law.
Her professors did more than prepare her to go before exacting judges. Amezola says she relied heavily on outlines from her professors as she prepared for the bar exam.
“They really narrowed down the issues for me, she says. “I wrote all of my professors an e-mail after the bar exam to express my gratitude.”
After graduation, Amezola returned to the family law firm she had worked at before attending law school. When the firm opened an immigration practice, Amezola was enlisted to jump-start the endeavor. The effort persuaded her to open her own practice.
“I got one client, then another, and then referrals,” she says. “Next thing you knew, I was up and running.” After a successful first year, Amezola was recognized as “Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year” by the National Latina Business Women Association of San Diego, on whose board she serves.
Amezola eventually partnered with another area attorney to create the firm of Strickland & Amezola. In addition to helping clients throughout California, the two assist clients in Tijuana, Mexico, with family and immigration law matters in the United States.
She encourages students to consider MSU College of Law because it’s good to “think outside the box,” she says. “I was taken out of my comfort zone,” she says. “Going to MSU Law really made me appreciate not only my own background, my culture, but also others’ because I got to meet people from all over.”