Professor Zaida Rivera is a Practitioner-in-Residence for the Immigrants’ Rights/International Human Rights Clinic at the Center for Social Justice. As part of a newly launched immigrant detention project funded by Essex County, Professor Rivera provides pro bono legal representation to vulnerable immigrants detained at Essex County Correctional Facility.
Professor Rivera has practiced immigration law for over seven years. Prior to joining Seton Hall Law School’s Center for Social Justice, she served as a Pro Bono Coordinating Attorney at Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) where she recruited, trained, and mentored pro bono attorneys to represent unaccompanied children in immigration proceedings. She also served as Staff Attorney for the NW Immigrant Rights Project in Seattle, WA, where she coordinated weekly Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals clinics, conducted community outreach, and provided representation to clients in various immigration matters, including removal defense, U-Visas, Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, asylum, Cancellation of Removal, and naturalization. As the former Director of Legal Clinics for the Latino/a Bar Association of Washington, she coordinated legal clinics in Seattle and rural areas in Washington State.
Professor Rivera is the proud daughter of hardworking Mexican immigrants, and an immigrant herself. She received her B.A. in International Relations and Spanish from Gonzaga University and her J.D. from the University of Idaho College of Law, where she was an Executive Editor for the Critical Legal Studies Journal, President of the Latino Law Caucus, Student Bar Association Vice-President, and a participant in the law school’s Immigration Clinic. As the first in her family to graduate from high school, college, and law school, she is passionate about inspiring youth to pursue higher education.