Graduate Profile: Samantha Natera, L’21

Samantha Natera in law graduate regalia next to a Kansas Jayhawk statue
Third-year law student Samantha Natera. Photo courtesy of Samantha Natera.

Student dedicated to immigration, employment cases

Third-year law student Samantha Natera dedicated her summers during law school to working on immigration and employment cases.

Following her 1L year, Natera completed two internships focused on immigration law. She spent the first part of the summer interning at Diocesan Migrant and Refugee Services, Inc., in her hometown of El Paso, Texas.

“We had the opportunity to help many people apply for asylum who were in detention centers,” Natera said. She came back to Lawrence later that summer to intern with Treviño Law Office, working on immigration cases.

In summer 2020, she worked remotely for Farmworker Legal Services, a Michigan-based organization that helps migrant and seasonal farmworkers to fight against employer injustice. Natera continues to work with the organization.

During her 2L year, Natera volunteered for a workshop, hosted by Legal Aid of Western Missouri, on nonimmigrant visas for victims of violent crimes. Student volunteers had the opportunity to assist with some cases and understand the basic concepts of helping clients with U and T visas.

“It was a good practical experience that helped me understand how being a lawyer can impact so many lives and see that there are many attorneys out there who care about the community,” Natera said.

Natera plans to take the Texas Bar Exam this summer. After that, she is open to opportunities, including returning to Kansas. Natera said she is excited to start her legal career and help people.

“I have enjoyed working with immigration and employment-related cases,” Natera said. “I am excited that I will be able to work on more cases like these and learn more every day about how I can make a positive impact in someone’s life.”

Natera grew up on the border of Ciudad Juárez, Mexico and El Paso, Texas. She earned her undergraduate degree in finance and international business from the University of Texas at El Paso.

When she was choosing a law school, Natera had narrowed her choices to two. She stopped by KU Law with her family for a visit but found the school was closed when they arrived. Professor Lou Mulligan answered the door and offered to show them the building.

“He gave me and my family a tour, and then I just knew that KU felt like a right choice for me,” Natera said.

At KU Law, Natera was president of the International Law Society and vice president of the Hispanic American Law Students Association. She worked as a student assistant in the Career Services Office and translated international recruiting materials for outreach to Spanish-speaking students.

Along with her J.D., Natera will earn the International Trade and Finance Certificate. Several of her favorite law school classes were part of the certificate program, including International Trade Law, International Commerce and Investment, Chinese Law, and Asylum and Refugee Law. As a student in the Mediation Clinic, Natera worked on a project to develop training materials for diplomats at the United Nations through a partnership with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research.

“Through all the amazing people working at KU I have had the opportunity to participate in clinics, internships, workshops, and have met wonderful people,” Natera said. “These experiences have been so helpful and have given me confidence on what will come next.”

— By Margaret Hair

This post is the sixth in a series highlighting a few of the exceptional members of KU Law’s Class of 2021. Check out previous stories about Aidan Graybill, Howard Mahan, Zachary Kelsay, Marisol Garcia and Leah Lewsader. Stay tuned for more profiles as we celebrate this year’s graduating class.