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Law allows illegal immigrants to become lawyers in California

There are many requirements that must be met before a person can legally practice law in the state of California, including completing certain educational requirements and undergoing a character background check. Because of a new law in California, proving legal status will no longer be a requirement for would-be attorneys in the state. In early October, Governor Jerry Brown signed a law that will pave the way for immigrants who are here illegally to become licensed attorneys in California. The law is the first of its kind in the United States.

The legislation came about after a lawsuit was filed by an immigrant who is here illegally and wants to be able to practice law. He was too old to qualify for a temporary legal status under the deferred action program, so he had no way to realize his dream of becoming an attorney unless California reconsidered its law. Similar lawsuits are currently pending in two other states.

Some of the aspiring attorneys who will benefit from the new law say they would like to practice immigration law and help people navigate the complex immigration system. One woman said her interest in becoming an attorney stemmed from a situation where her sister was nearly deported. Ultimately, an attorney helped her sister get a visa.

Whether you need assistance completing a green card application or obtaining permanent residency, attorneys in the Los Angeles area who specialize in immigration matters may be able to help you. Consider contacting an immigration attorney to learn more.

Source: Los Angeles Times, “New immigration law in California gives aspiring attorneys hope,” Cindy Chang, Oct. 15, 2013

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