Judith Marty: Human Rights Attorney

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Human Rights,Gender Issues, Immigration Attorney

Most legal--and life--problems stem from poor communication. Attorney, mediator and "communication evolutionary" Judith Marty offers lasting solutions to life's inevitable problems through communications enhancement, conflict reduction and positive problem-solving. She teaches how legal issues are opportunities to create positive change. "If you are not proactive about your personal growth, God will give you a kick in the pants to make sure you are thinking about it."

AN INTERVIEW WITH JUDITH MARTY, ESQ.

 1.      WHAT IS THE FOCUS OF YOUR FIRM?

 We provide high-quality legal services to immigration clients who are low to middle income. We focus on the disenfranchised who need human rights protection. The Gender Rights Project represents LGBT clients, domestic violence, child abuse, and FGM survivors and HIV patients. Many of our clients are in detention centers. Our Juvenile Project helps children stay in the U.S. through the Deferred Action program.

 Additionally, our immigration attorneys provide expert advice for family petitions, work permits, green card applications, and naturalization by doing a full analysis of the issues including criminal issues that can so easily cause someone to be deported. An analysis of criminal and procedural issues must be done before applications are filed or there is a great possibility that the applicant will be put in removal proceedings.

If preventive measures were not taken, we represent clients in removal proceedings. Each case is carefully evaluated before our firm agrees to represent the client.  The client must have at least a 60% chance of success before we will take the case.

We represent cases in Immigration Court in Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, El Paso, El Centro, Denver, Arizona. We represent federal appeals in the Eighth, Ninth, and Tenth Federal Circuit Courts.

Our BIA appeals include one published decision: Matter of F-P-R-, 24 I&N Dec. 681 (BIA 2008). 

 2.      PLEASE TELL US ABOUT YOUR FIRM'S HISTORY.

 I earned a B.A. with distinction in sociology and Spanish from the University of Minnesota.  My lifetime work in human relations and intercultural communication began in the 1970's performing outreach work for migrant workers.  I counseled adolescents, including sex offenders, in a long-term treatment program while attending law school. I utilize my knowledge of self-esteem building in my law practice.

 I  established Divorce Seminars and Information in 1988 as a resource to address the issues that the legal system ignores such as financial planning and self-esteem building. My goal was to help families make a healthy transition through the divorce process.

 My interest in protecting children led me to work for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees adjudicating cases for unaccompanied minors in refugee camps for two years in Hong Kong.  Upon return to the United States, I supervised and trained Asylum Officers for the U.S. Department of Justice for six years.

Today, I represent immigration clients and asylum seekers, specializing in children's and gender issues. I traveled throughout Asia and Central America researching human rights conditions. I have been a volunteer legal advisor for the Coalition Against Slavery and Trafficking in Los Angeles and I work closely with the U.S. Attorney's Office to eliminate corruption and immigrant abuses. Proceeds from my "Child Slaves and U.S. Asylum and Refugee Policy"  (2000) article are used for human rights projects. My "Child Lures" presentation teaches what every parent and child should know about preventing sexual abuse and abduction.

 3.      PLEASE TELL US ABOUT YOUR PREVIOUS EMPLOYMENT.

I am an attorney and former INS supervisory asylum officer. For six years, I supervised and trained asylum officers on how to adjudicate asylum cases.  

I trained asylum officers in international law, federal immigration law, intercultural communication, how to interview victims of torture, decision writing, and implementation of juvenile detention procedures at their Asylum Officer Basic Training Course at FLETC. I was also responsible for developing a weekly training program for asylum officers at the Los Angeles Asylum Office for 3 years.  I organized training on complex issues such as posttraumatic stress syndrome and sensitive issues such as homosexuality to assist asylum officers making difficult decisions about persecution.

I worked on a project in the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) Commissioner's Office of Congressional Relations. I researched the answers to complex and controversial matters, and was the liaison with Heads of INS operations and the INS Public Relations Office to properly inform Senators and Representatives about official INS policies or how to resolve problem cases.

I also participated in a quality assurance project for the Office of International Affairs, Washington, DC to develop and implement a review standard for credible fear decisions pursuant to changes in U.S. immigration law. The process developed was under the scrutiny of the General Accounting Office and the NGO community.

I served as an expert witness for the U.S. Department of Justice in one of the largest immigration fraud cases successfully prosecuted in California. My role was to educate the U.S. Attorney's Office about the proper procedures in asylum law so they could demonstrate, through my testimony to the Court, how the defendants had intentionally violated the procedures.

Prior to working for the INS, I  worked for two years with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Hong Kong. My duties as Deputy Field Officer were to liaise with consulates, non-governmental organizations, the refugees, and the Hong Kong government to resolve any disputes or issues arising in a refugee camp setting. I also interviewed unaccompanied minors and advised the Hong Kong government about their refugee status and durable solution as a Member of the Special Committee for Vulnerable Persons. My work at the United Nations involved the application of complex international law and the consideration of foreign policy issues.

4.      HOW DO YOU FULFILL YOUR CONTINUING EDUCATION HOURS?

My entire focus is on immigration law.  It is a complex area of law and is constantly changing.  As an AILA member I am attending CLE meetings and conferences 5-6 times per year.  I also attend conferences on criminal law since it is such an important part of immigration law now.

5.      HAVE YOU PUBLISHED PAPERS OR ARTICLES OR RECEIVED ANY AWARDS?

I am the author of Divorce in Minnesota For Non-Lawyers, A Guide to the Legal System, 1991, 1994, 1996, 2001, The 5 Colors of Divorce , 2000, and Lift High Your Colors to the Sky! A Divorce Workbook for Healthy Transitions, 2002, 2010. "Child Slaves and U.S. Asylum and Refugee Policy"  (2000) article

I received from the United States Dept. of Justice, Excellent and Outstanding Performance Awards, 1995-1999

Minnesota Supreme Court, Certificate of Appreciation, 1989

City of Minneapolis, Certificate of Appreciation, 1988

Chrysalis, A Center for Women, Certificate of Appreciation, 1987.

 I am a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and World Professional Association for Transgender Health.

 I also serve as a Mentor Attorney for The National Center for Refugee & Immigrant Children.

 6.      PLEASE LIST ONE OR TWO EXAMPLE CASES  INCLUDING THE OUTCOME.

My BIA appeals include one published decision: Matter of F-P-R-, 24 I&N Dec. 681 (BIA 2008).

See This Boy's Life

He's three years old and HIV-positive. His mother's a prostitute and drug addict. Back in Thailand. Naturally, the INS is trying to deport him. by Denise Hamilton, originally published July 6, 2000, republished on our website by permission for a story of one of our first cases.

The Blade magazine published "Love Divided: Federal Immigration Laws Threaten Same-Sex, Binational Couples" in August 2004 describing our Guatemalan case whereby a poor, illiterate woman who had to live under freeway bridges and clean houses in exchange for food was granted asylum after missing the one year filing deadline.

Our cases are confidential, but we are happy to report that 90% of our clients receive some kind of relief from removal.

7.      WHAT IS YOUR OPINION REGARDING CLIENTS EDUCATING THEMSELVES ON LEGAL ISSUES?

I offer expert advice to immigration clients before they spend a lot of money or risk deportation. It is not enough to have human rights and immigration laws.  People have to have access to good information before they can avail themselves of the laws' protection.  Too often people are hurt by bad information and good cases are never heard. We may not be able to reach every deserving person, but one by one, we will make a difference.

8.      WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO BECOME A LAWYER?

Abuse offends me. From the time I was a small child, I did not like to see others abused.  In first grade, I stopped going to school because the teacher was verbally abusive. I walked the railroad tracks to where my mother was working and explained it to her.  She took me back to school, knocked on the classroom door and explained to the teacher that her yelling was frightening me.  The teacher said, "But I don't yell at Judy, she's a good girl."  My mother replied, "It bothers her when you yell at other students."  The teacher agreed to be more careful.  A short while later, the teacher came into the girls' bathroom and started yelling at someone.  When I walked out of the stall and she saw me, she instantly was quiet.  With my mother's support, I was empowered to stand up against abuse.  Many children are not so fortunate....they are told to listen to their elders no matter how abusive they are. I have been fighting against injustice ever since.

 9.      WHAT WORK EXPERIENCE, EDUCATION, OR LIFE EXPERIENCE MAKES YOU A BETTER LAWYER?

I worked for 6 years as a juvenile corrections worker, counseling adolescents and families.  Then I was a family law attorney for 10 years. I learned to listen. I learned what makes people tick...what is really important to them. This experience and skill has served me well in the practice of law.  It helps me explain to the judge why my client deserves help.

 10.  WHY DID YOU CHOOSE YOUR PRIMARY AREA OF PRACTICE?

Immigration law brings together all my past education and work experience.  I evaluate sociological factors such as  language and culture, apply the law and am able to help many people who would not otherwise get help.

 11.WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT YOUR CAREER?

 My work is very rewarding.  My clients are very appreciative. The "little guy" gets to win. The most important thing I have received in my career is the knowledge that in the world, there are more good people than bad people.

 12.  TELL US ABOUT THE PEOPLE WORKING WITH YOU AT YOUR FIRM.

 Anyone who works with me has to share my philosophy: the client comes first.  It means we work long hours and weekends, but the end result is very satisfying. We are able to have interesting rewarding lives. My attorneys, paralegals, and staff are dedicated to getting justice for the those who are fighting against the big giant: the  U.S. government.  At a recent AILA dinner, a lawyer at our dinner table asked my paralegal what she liked most about working with Judi.  Her response: "Winning!"  My comment:  "Good answer."

 13.  WHAT ARE YOUR STENGTHS AND STYLE?

 I am a perfectionist which is both a blessing and a curse. It means I always want all the "i"s dotted and "t"s crossed and I can be very demanding. I expect my client to be honest and cooperative so we can do the best job. But in the end, as one judge told me, "You are the Number One asylum lawyer.  You should be training other lawyers." Los Angeles IJ, 2010

 14.  WHAT ARE YOUR PERSONAL INTERESTS?

 After many hours of listening to abuse stories, I like peace and quiet. I like gardening, going to the beach to watch the sunset, training my 3 dogs.  I always carry a good novel to read when I'm waiting in long lines at government buildings. There are so many things to enjoy in life.









                                                          Judith Marty, Esq. 

                                          714-870-8457
                                              714-724-9986
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