Khalafalla Osman ’21
After living through post-9/11 America as a young Muslim and witnessing his imam unfairly targeted by law enforcement, Khalafalla Osman, then aged 12, decided he would become a lawyer and advocate for Muslim Americans. With that goal in mind, he chose his first co-op with the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Tampa, Florida. “I went straight to what I thought I wanted to do, but when I was in Florida I fell in love with immigration,” says Khalafalla. “Seeing families reunited through green cards and other programs, it really warmed my heart. It’s a life-changing field and it also is a prevailing issue in the fight for social justice.”
Khalafalla used his co-ops to explore various facets of immigration law, including nonprofit agencies and a private firm. “On co-op, you really do the work, from drafting memos to motions to client advocacy. It’s truly boots on the ground.”
Today, Khalafalla is an Immigrant Justice Corps Fellow with UnLocal, which serves New York City’s undocumented immigrant communities. He credits the combination of his co-ops and experience with the law school’s Immigrant Justice Clinic as well as advising by Renay Frankel ’96 in the Center for Co-op and Career Development, with his success in being selected for the highly competitive fellowship. “Combining the clinic with co-ops was a transformative experience,” he says. “I now have an understanding of trauma and asylum that will continue to guide my work.”
Council on American-Islamic Relations, Tampa, Florida
With a fellowship from the law school’s Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy, Khalafalla spent his first co-op working closely with immigration attorneys and assisted in interpreting between attorneys and Arabic-speaking immigrant clients.
- Advanced Legal Writing
- Environmental Law
- Federal Courts and the Federal System
- Immigration Law
- Labor Law I
- Refugee and Asylum Law
Goss Associates, Boston, Massachusetts
Khalafalla explored the business side of immigration, particularly dealing with clients with extraordinary ability (O-1, O-2, EB-2 visas). This experience allowed him to sharpen his legal writing skills and to develop lawyer-client relationships.
- Black Law Student Association
- Muslim Law Association (chair)
Immigrant Justice Clinic
In this clinic, Khalafalla confirmed his calling. He learned about the art of advocating for immigrants, including legal writing from the immigration law perspective to the obstacles and challenges surrounding advocacy, such as his clients’ mental health. He also gained insights from the passion and drive of his student colleagues in the clinic.
During his upper-level years, Khalafalla served as the Muslim spiritual advisor/chaplain at Northeastern’s Center for Spirituality, Dialogue and Service.
Catholic Charities–Special Projects/Immigration and Refugee Services, Kingston, New York
Recognizing the depth of his co-op experiences in immigration, Khalafalla’s co-op supervisor gave him significant autonomy in managing a caseload that included visa adjustments and defensive asylum.