U Visa Fundamentals

9:00 AM - 5:00 PM PST
Registration Deadline: 
UC Hastings College of Law
6.5 CA
If you are an employee of a non-profit or IOLTA organization, register to qualify for a discount.

Sponsored by: Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC), ASISTA, Bay Area VAWA/U Network, CLINIC, Los Angeles VAWA Network, the Northern California Coalition for Immigrant Victims of Crime & AILA Northern California Chapter

This session will provide a comprehensive overview of the entire U nonimmigrant and adjustment of status process, including strategies to get law enforcement agencies to sign the certification of helpfulness. It is intended for those who are new to U visas, including those who are new to legal advocacy and/or new to the practice of immigration law, those with little or no prior knowledge of immigration law, and those with basic familiarity with immigration law but no prior experience working on U visas specifically.

Registration begins at 8:30 am; session will begin at 9:00 am.

Location: UC Hastings College of Law, 200 McAllister Street, San Francisco, CA 94102


Cecelia Friedman Levin, Staff Attorney – Asista
Prior to joining ASISTA as a staff attorney in June 2012, Cecelia Friedman Levin worked as a supervising attorney at Women Empowered Against Violence in Washington, DC and as the domestic violence staff attorney at the National Law Center for Homelessness and Poverty.  She has also been an immigration staff attorney at Ayuda, providing direct legal representation to low-income immigrants in the Washington, DC area.  Prior to law school, she was a Fulbright Research Scholar in Santiago, Chile assessing community responses to domestic violence.  Cecelia received her B.A. in International Studies and Women & Gender studies from American University and her J.D. from American University-Washington College of Law.

Cynthia Lucas

Debbie Smith, Training and Legal Support Attorney – CLINIC
Debbie Smith is an attorney specializing in immigration law who has practiced for more nearly thirty years in the non-profit, private and public sector.  She is an attorney at Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC) where she conducts trainings in immigration law.  Debbie previously was a staff attorney at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco, a partner at the immigration law firm Simmons & Ungar, and the national coordinator of the landmark American Baptist Churches ("ABC") class action settlement representing more than 300,000 class members.

Monica Kane, Staff Attorney – Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County
At NLSLA, Monica provides free legal assistance and representation in immigration matters to low-income clients, many of whom are survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.  Monica was previously with NLSLA from 2002 to 2005. Before rejoining NLSLA in 2009, she worked with asylees and refugees at Jewish Family and Children's Services in San Francisco and practiced employment-based immigration law with Haight Law Group, PLC, in Los Angeles. Monica holds a J.D. from UCLA School of Law.

Nancy J. Reyes-Rubi, Senior Staff Attorney – Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles (LAFLA)
As a senior staff attorney at LAFLA for the last 11+ years, Nancy has assisted hundreds of domestic violence victims achieve safety through VAWA, U visas, T visas and other available remedies. She provides technical assistance to other agencies across the state.  LAFLA’s Immigration and Asian Pacific Islander Units have collaborated to engage in cutting–edge legal work in various areas that assist survivors of human trafficking, domestic violence, stalking, and sexual assault.  Some of this work has included targeted outreach and services to victims of human trafficking (such as forced prostitution) and assertion of asylum claims based on gender-based persecution (such as rape and domestic violence).  She is also very involved with local immigration networks (VAWA and Trafficking) that focus on making changes at the local level to help improve procedures for immigration clients, as well as on a national level.  Nancy has provided several U visa & VAWA trainings to community-based organizations, government agencies, universities and large private law firms interested in pro-bono VAWA cases.  She is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and the Los Angeles County Bar’s Immigration Section.

Sarah Bronstein, Training & Legal Support Attorney – CLINIC 
Ms. Bronstein provides training and technical assistance on immigration law to CLINIC members and other community based organizations.  Prior to joining CLINIC’s Training and Legal Support section, Ms. Bronstein served as a detention fellow in CLINIC’s Los Angeles office from 2000 – 2002 representing detained adults and children in removal proceedings.  She subsequently ran CLINIC’s San Francisco detained children’s representation project from 2002 – 2004 and supervised the legal work of the attorneys in CLINIC’s national detention representation project from 2004 – 2007.  Ms. Bronstein is a graduate of the Georgetown University Law Center and is member of the California State Bar.

Susan Bowyer, Deputy Director – Immigration Center for Women and Children (ICWC) 
Susan is the author of a number of publications on immigration remedies for survivors of domestic violence, including those published by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), the Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law & Justice, and the Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC).  She is a frequent trainer on immigration through the VAWA and U Visa and has presented at the American Immigration Lawyers Association National Conference, California and Central Florida Chapters, the Alameda County Law Enforcement Chiefs’ Annual Conference, on regional and national webinars, and before the California State Senate and Assembly Human Service Committees.  Susan is a 1992 graduate of Stanford Law School, where she was a Public Service Law Fellow.