Halima Ismail Nur

Halima Nur

JD, 2020



Manuel And Ana Maria Benitez Award For Clinical Excellence In Immigration Law

This award is given to a member of the graduating class who has demonstrated extraordinary ability in the Immigration Clinic and who also possesses the personal qualities that distinguished Manuel and Ana María Benítez – both of whom were immigrants – including initiative, creativity, zeal, loyalty, and integrity. The recipient receives a monetary award, a crystal trophy, and a Dean’s Certificate. Halima Saidia Ismail Nur is the winner of the 2020 Manuel and Ana Maria Benitez Award.

Nominating faculty said about Halima: “When she walked into the courtroom, she was battling a cold that she had contracted from her clients after working diligently with them over the past month. Despite not feeling her best, this year’s Benitez Award winner pushed all of that aside because she knew she had a job to do; she had to zealously advocate for her clients and win them asylum so they could remain safely in the United States. She did just that on February 24, when she helped save a family of four from future harm in their home country, Venezuela. Her performance was so impressive that the Immigration Judge commented that her preparation had made the decision an easy one."

Of her work in the Clinic, her clients said (translated from Spanish): “This is our small summary but there are no words to thank her for all of her hard work. Language has no borders - your dedication, determination and perseverance will open doors for you professionally. Wishing you success!”

Dedication, determination, and perseverance are perfect words to describe Halima, as she is not one to shy away from a challenge. Her client’s asylum hearing was scheduled in November 2019 for February 2020, giving her only a little over two months to fully prepare. She got right to work. When another client was in a dangerous living situation, Halima sought out resources and frequently checked in on her wellbeing. In addition to her duties as a two-semester Immigration Clinic student-attorney, Halima also took on the role as the Clinic Student Director, which required her to assist all clinical faculty. 
This year’s award winner is herself both an immigrant, from Canada, and the daughter of immigrants, from Somalia.