P.D. Soros Fellowship for New Americans

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Akash Patel, 2016

Attorney, Hogan Lovells US LLP

Akash Patel is an immigrant from United Kingdom

Fellowship awarded to support work towards a JD in Law at University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Born in London, Akash Patel is the son of Indian immigrants. Akash's family moved from India to England and then to the United States in the early 1990s in search of a better life. Akash watched his family thrive even with modest means, so he learned early on how to take full advantage of any opportunity to better himself and others.

Akash was less than two years old when he arrived in America, but was not afforded citizenship until the age of 23. Protracted wait times meant that Akash's family lived as undocumented immigrants for 16 of those years until they could adjust their status at all. But Akash's inspiration has always been the struggle and triumph of his sister, Nisha, who aged out of her petition to receive her green card, yet went on to pursue a PhD in Microbiology at the University of Oklahoma (OU). Because of America's broken immigration system, Nisha continues to rely on the Executive Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to live and work in the U.S., but that has not stopped her from becoming a successful microbiologist.

As a result, Akash founded the non-profit Aspiring Americans to serve other undocumented students in Oklahoma, which has raised nearly $350,000. At that same time, Akash also enjoyed working with Oklahoma City Public Schools by serving on the Lau Planning Committee as well as the Superintendent's Diversity Council to ensure that all diverse students groups have equitable educational outcomes. Building on these experiences, Akash then attended law school at the University of Michigan where he had the opportunity to work at the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, Educational Opportunities Section in D.C., extern at the Michigan Immigrants Rights Center, and volunteer as a student attorney with the Juvenile Justice Clinic on campus. 

Now, Akash is an attorney at Hogan Lovells in D.C. where he works on regulatory issues in the education and energy fields. Akash also maintains a robust immigration pro bono practice, which includes managing the individual, named plaintiffs in both of the key asylum ban cases against the Trump Administration.

Education
  • JD Law | University of Michigan - Ann Arbor 2019
  • BA Political Science, Constitutional Studies; Philosophy | University of Oklahoma 2014
Awards
  • Rising Star Award, National Immigrant Justice Center
  • University of Oklahoma Carl Albert Award | Top award for graduating senior in College of Arts of Sciences
  • NAFSA Award for Special Service to International Education
  • Human Rights Award, Oklahoma Universal Human Rights Alliance
  • Ambassador of Hope Award, Ruth Joyce Colbert Barnes Foundation
  • Pro Bono Service Award, Kids in Need of Defense (KIND)
  • Best Pro Bono Project, University of Michigan Law School
Work History
  • Hogan Lovells US LLP, Attorney | September 2019 - PRESENT
  • Michigan Immigrant Rights Center, Student Attorney | January 2019 - May 2019
  • Juvenile Justice Clinic, Student Attorney | January 2018 - December 2018
  • Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Educational Opportunities Section, Legal Intern | May 2017 - August 2017
  • Aspiring Americans, Founder, Executive Director | February 2014 - August 2016
  • Michael-Brooks Jimenez for State Senate, Campaign Manager | June 2014 - November 2014
  • Center for American Progress, Education Policy Intern | June 2013 - August 2013
  • Oklahoma Supreme Court, Legal Intern | May 2012 - July 2012
  • Oklahoma State Senate, Legislative Intern | January 2012 - May 2012
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