Ariana Hamilton knew she wanted to be an attorney from the time she was 10 years old (and realized that she was a little too clumsy to be a ballerina). She knew that the best way she could help people was by having the knowledge and skills to do so.
She has a unique perspective because she grew up in the law firm, literally. From daycare to her first job, this firm saw it all. Ariana started from the bottom, washing the outside windows and then slowly worked her way up. By high school, she had worked on several cases (with supervision) and observed in court. After graduating from Bishop Dunne High School located in Oak Cliff, she just wasn’t ready to leave her hometown.
She spent the following four years studying at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas and continued to work as a legal assistant for the Guerrero Law Offices. After her freshman year, she received a scholarship to study abroad. She lived with a family in Xalapa, Veracruz for three months and studied Spanish (which she began learning as a baby) at the local university. During this time, she fell in love with Latin America and its culture.
In 2013, Ariana graduated from SMU with a double major in Human Rights and English, as well as minors in Spanish and Psychology. Immediately after graduation, she made the four-hour move south to attend the University of Houston Law Center. She jumped on the opportunity to return to Mexico for a summer and work at the ministry of foreign affairs in Mexico City (la Secretaria de Relaciones Exteriores) to prevent international child abductions. After returning to the US, Ariana spent a semester working as a student attorney in the immigration clinic where she represented clients in front of immigration judges and submitted briefs to the court. She continued to expand her immigration knowledge while working with a well-respected immigration firm in Houston. Under the guidance of her supervisors, Ariana drafted and edited briefs for cases before the Board of Immigration Appeals and the 5th Circuit.
In May of 2016, Ariana graduated from the University of Houston Law Center. She is currently awaiting admission to the Texas Bar after completing the exam in July. As she anxiously waits, she distracts herself by playing fetch with her (full-grown) ‘kitten’ and reading books not related to the law.
University of Houston Law Center, Houston, TX (May 2016)
Themis Bar Review, Campus Representative
Public Interest Law Organization, Member
International Law Society, Member
Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX (August 2013)
B.A. in Human Rights, B.A. in English, Minors in Spanish and Psychology
Hilltop Scholar, Global Learning Scholarship, Dorothy Amann Award – Award for leadership within Division of Student Affairs
The Guerrero Law Offices, Dallas Texas (August 2016 – Present)
Gonzalez Olivieri, LLC, Houston Texas (April 2015 – December 2016)
- Completed over 20 asylum applications, including numerous affidavits and two affirmative asylum briefs.
- Drafted briefs on appeal (of asylum denial and of motion to reopen denial) to the BIA and collaborated on legal arguments for various appellate cases.
- Drafted motions to reopen (lozada, in absentia, sua sponte), motions to terminate, and motions to admin close.
- Conducted legal research and drafted memoranda on particularized immigration issues, including, SAW, NACARA, acquisition of citizenship, preference category conversion, derivative AOS eligibility, etc.
University of Houston Law Center Immigration Clinic, Houston, TX (January 2015 – May 2015)
- Drafted, filed, and argued bond motion in front of San Antonio Immigration Court, securing de minimus bond of $1500 for client seeking asylum.
- Completed and filed Adjustment of Status (AOS) Application for SIJ client to USCIS. AOS granted summer 2015.
Federal Public Defenders Office for Southern District of Texas Houston, TX (August 2014 – December 2014)
- Searched public records of 700+ Harris County drug cases and compiled a chart outlining average dispositions of methamphetamine cases (sentences and fines) that was then filed with a brief to the Federal District Court.
- Conducted legal research and drafted briefs on different enhancements for illegal reentry cases.
- Conducted 50-state surveys to find general definitions (overt act in robbery, and structured sentencing guidelines).
- Observed and participated in discussions for moots, 1 of which was argued in front of the Supreme Court.
Secretaria de Relaciones Exteriores, Mexico City, Mexico (July 2014 – August 2014)
Legal Intern, Family Law and General Protection
- Drafted correspondence in both English and Spanish requesting case updates from central authorities on the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction in Canada, France, Guatemala, Portugal, Spain, and the U.S.
- Researched and drafted memoranda comparing family laws in Mexico to those of the U.S., and to Texas specifically.
- Observed Mexican family law court proceedings, including emergency hearing for the immediate return of a minor.
141st District Court, Tarrant County, Fort Worth, Texas (June 2014 – July 2014)
Judicial Intern for the Honorable John P. Chupp
- Researched and drafted memoranda on issues in cases before the court; debated proper decisions on motions.
- Observed multiple stages of insurance litigation, large-scale property disputes, breaches of contract, felony and misdemeanor criminal proceedings, and oral arguments in the 2nd Court of Appeals of Texas.