Maryland Carey Law welcomes Aadhithi Padmanabhan to the faculty

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When Maryland Carey Law launched the Chacón Center for Immigrant Justice last year, part of the center’s promise was to establish a new clinic offering students the opportunity to work on immigration cases at the appellate level. With the addition of Aadhithi Padmanabhan to the faculty, that promise is now a reality. 

Padmanabhan comes to the law school from the Legal Aid Society in New York, where she was a supervising attorney in the Immigration Law Unit. Her experience representing clients on immigration matters before federal courts and overseeing early-career lawyers makes her ideally suited to direct the Appellate Immigration Clinic at Maryland Carey Law.  

“Aadhithi’s enthusiasm for advocacy and for teaching is energizing,” says Professor Maureen Sweeney, director, Chacón Center for Immigrant Justice, “and her practice experience and expertise in both appellate litigation and immigration make her a tremendous resource for our students and our clients.”  

Padmanabhan calls the new position her “dream job” because it combines her passions for helping immigrant communities and for mentoring people entering the legal profession. Additionally, Padmanabhan says she appreciates being in an academic environment because she looks forward to expanding her research, which explores deportation and detention policy, with a focus on the ways in which administrative law principles are developed, modified, and applied in the immigration context. 

Growing up in a family that moved around a lot and coming to the United States as a teenager influenced Padmanabhan’s career choices. “Doing immigrant rights work is personally meaningful to me,” she says. “That’s why I went to law school.” 

After graduating summa cum laude from Harvard College, Padmanabhan went on to earn her JD from Yale Law School, where she participated in Yale’s immigrant rights clinic and was awarded the Charles G. Albom Prize for Excellence in Appellate Advocacy in Connection with a Clinical Program. Following law school, she was a Skadden Fellow and then a staff attorney at the New York Civil Liberties Union. She also volunteered at the New York Immigration Coalition, an umbrella policy and advocacy organization representing immigrant rights groups throughout New York. 

“Clinic was a formative experience in my legal career,” says Padmanabhan. “I want to create a similar environment for the students at Maryland Carey Law.” 

The Federal Appellate Immigration Clinic at Maryland Carey Law is one of the only clinics of its kind in the country. The chance to offer students this rare opportunity also drew Padmanabhan to Baltimore. 

“The stakes of this clinic are profound,” she says, referring to deportation, family separation and deprivation of one’s livelihood. “And because this is an appellate clinic, students will have the opportunity to multiply their impact by shaping the law on issues that affect thousands of people.”