Alumni Spotlight: Cristian Gonzalez '20

Cristian graduated from Cornell University in 2020 with majors in Near Eastern Studies and Government and minors in Arabic, Jewish Studies, Law & Society, and History. Cristian chose to pursue Near Eastern Studies to further his understanding of the impacts of colonialism on identity formation for the many peoples of the Middle East and North Africa through the lens of history, language, and religion. 

After graduating, Cristian worked as a Litigation Paralegal at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP in New York City for two years. At Paul, Weiss, Cristian worked on a variety of transactional and pro bono matters. On the billed side, he supported case teams working on data privacy, internal investigations, restitution, intellectual property, and ESG advising/disclosure matters. Cristian billed over 1,000 pro bono hours supporting teams through Spanish and Arabic interpretation covering practice areas such as asylum, DACA renewal, Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) applications, anti-hate litigation, and COVID-19 emergency housing and employment relief efforts.

In 2022, Cristian transitioned into a new role at the firm and became the Pro Bono Coordinator, where he supported the Pro Bono Attorneys in maintaining the pro bono docket of the firm, with specific attention to the immigration docket. As the coordinator, he worked to organize attorney trainings, legal clinics, the staffing of matters, and the updating of internal records. Due to his significant contributions to the Legal Aid Society’s immigration relief efforts, Cristian was recognized as a recipient of their Pro Bono Publico Award in October of 2022. 

In the summer of 2023, Cristian departed Paul, Weiss and moved to Washington, D.C. to begin his first year at American University Washington College of Law. He is currently studying for finals and hopes to pursue a career as an attorney advocating for immigrants and refugees.

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Cristian Gonzalez standing outside, smiling