Prerna Lal

Principal and Managing Attorney at Lal Legal

Location
Washington D.C. Metro Area
Industry
Legal Services
Previous
  1. The George Washington University Law School,
  2. National Center for Transgender Equality,
  3. National Lawyers Guild
Education
  1. The George Washington University Law School
Recommendations3 people have recommended Prerna
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Background

Summary

I am a summa cum laude graduate in Political Science, with a Master's Degree in International Relations, and a Juris Doctor from The George Washington University Law School.

During my time as an immigrant rights organizer, I worked in the intersections of queer and immigrant rights, lobbying, making strategic policy decisions, and building an extensive and unprecedented national organizing network using new media technology. I also have non-profit management experience, with a proven ability to broker critical relationships with professionals, clients, media, donors and various networks.

I started my own law practice after realizing that there was a pressing need in the immigrant rights community for community-based lawyers who have direct experiences with the immigration system, and who advocate for social and systemic change in favor of their clients. As someone who spent over fifteen years as an undocumented immigrant in the U.S. and as someone who was involved directly in movement-building with the undocumented community, I know first-hand what it is like to face detention, deportation, imminent family separation, and how to win.

As an attorney, I have experience doing federal court litigation, family and business immigration law, complicated naturalization cases, immigration issues due to criminal convictions, asylum, cancellation of removal, stays of removal, and dealing with a whole host of immigration-related problems. I am licensed to practice law in the District of Columbia, and can represent clients anywhere in the U.S.

While I am trained in legal work, I believe in community-generated responses because legal systems are designed to subjugate people of color, women and other minorities, and do not necessarily work for us. Grassroots campaigns I have worked on include winning instate tuition, driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants, deferred action, the Not One More campaign, stopping home foreclosures, and obtaining stay of removals.

Experience

Research Assistant

The George Washington University Law School
(1 year)

Legal research, writing and editing based on race, gender identity and sexuality in criminal law and procedure.

Legal Intern

National Center for Transgender Equality
(4 months)

• Researched, edited and wrote memos to federal agencies and policy makers on issues affecting transgender individuals, such as housing, immigration and the criminal justice system.
• Conducted legal research and updated “Know Your Rights” materials relating to the LGBT community.

Tom Steele Legal Fellow

National Lawyers Guild
(less than a year)San Francisco Bay Area

Updated Transgender Know Your Rights manuals on Criminal, Housing, Employment and Immigration issues.
Created a comprehensive LGBT immigration guide focusing on same-sex bi-national couples, LGBTI asylum issues, CBP, E-verify, the difference between asylum and refugee seekers, and the impact of aging-out of family visa petitions for many queer immigrants.
Worked with LGBT Immigration and Asylum lawyers in the Bay Area to create an Emerging Issues in LGBT Immigration 2-hour CLE where I presented on How to Save Your Client From Deportation After A Final Order of Removal.
Worked on some asylum client declarations and drafting country conditions with the National Center for Lesbian Rights

Law Clerk

Trow & Rahal PC
(less than a year)Washington D.C. Metro Area

Located in the nation’s capital, Trow & Rahal’s primary focus is on solving immigration issues for employers and individuals in the U.S. and around the world. Trow & Rahal helps its clients navigate the immigration process for visas, green cards, citizenship, and other immigration related matters.

Blogger

Change.org
(2 years)Virtual

Created and maintained online actions for a wide range of campaigns. Provided frequent commentary on immigration, racial justice issues and initiated local and online media campaigns. Trained fellow bloggers on how to write and launch advocacy campaigns.

Founder, New Media Director

Active Dreams LLC
(3 years)

Created the online infrastructure and new media strategy to organize for the immigrant youth movement.
Built, maintained and organized a database of over 150,000 members, with more than 20,000 followers on Twitter and 80,000 members on Facebook
Coordinated with fiscal sponsors, secured grants, raised and maintained funds to engineer growth
Established local, online, national media and public contacts for disseminating information
Proved ability to maintain and broker critical relationships across a widely diverse geographical archipelago
Served as national spokesperson with responsibility for structuring, balancing and connecting various networks
Actively engaged and lobbied politicians including state and federal officials on immigration issues, winning vital victories for local and state-based initiatives.
Increased LGBTQ presence and visibility in the immigrant rights movement and coordinated attempts to work together.
Honors: SAALT Changemaker 2011; Fiji Aid Society Award; New Organizing Institute, Finalist for Most Valuable Online Organizer, 2009.

Graduate Ambassador

Students for Fair Consideration
(less than a year)

Helped implement a free nationwide legal consultation program for immigrant youth that has now morphed into the AILA DREAM Defenders program; mentored young immigrants in advocacy; provided technical and web support for blogs.

Law for the People Intern

National Lawyers Guild
(less than a year)

Worked on the prison law project addressing inquiries from prisoners. Researched and co-wrote the Transgender Know Your Rights manuals serving the greater Bay Area on criminal, housing, employment and immigration issues. I wrote several articles for the Guild Newsletter, arranged arraignments and carried out general administrative and office duties.

Graduate Teaching Assistant for International Relations

San Francisco State University
(2 years)

I served as a teaching assistant for several classes in Political Economy and International Relations at SFSU where I assisting students in all aspects of the classes including holding lecture sessions, running course evaluations, giving feedback to the instructor on lesson plans, conducting after-hours study lessons and holding exam-study periods.

Volunteer Experience & Causes

Board Member

Immigration Equality
Human Rights

Opportunities Prerna is looking for:

  • Skills-based volunteering (pro bono consulting)

Causes Prerna cares about:

  • Civil Rights and Social Action
  • Human Rights
  • Disaster and Humanitarian Relief
  • Politics

Organizations Prerna supports:

  • Immigration Equality
  • VIDA Fitness & Aura Spa
  • NDLON

Honors & Awards

Justice Thurgood Marshall Award

The George Washington University

Given in honor of the late Supreme Court Associate Justice to a member of the graduating Juris Doctor class who has demonstrated outstanding performance in and dedication to the field of civil rights and civil liberties.

Changemaker of the Year

South Asian Americans Leading Together

Award given on the 10th anniversary celebration of 9/11 for being a fierce advocate for human rights and instrumental in organizing a national movement to pass the DREAM Act, stopping dozens of deportations in which families would have been torn apart, pushing for policy changes to stop denying green-cards for same-sex bi-national couples.

MALDEF DREAM Act Activist Scholarship

Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund

MALDEF scholarship to support the nation’s college and graduate student leaders who have been outstanding advocates for the DREAM Act and all immigrant right

UPS/NLF Gold Mountain Scholarship

National Asian Pacific American Bar Association Law Foundation

First in immediate family to be currently enrolled in, and in good standing, at an American Bar Association (ABA) or Association of American Law Schools (AALS) accredited law school in the United States. Demonstrated commitment to pro bono and/or public interest legal work. Commitment to serving the needs of the Asian Pacific American Community

Additional Honors & Awards

• Recognition for Outstanding Service for Immigrant Rights, La Raza Centro Legal, 2011.
• Recognition for Contribution to the Fiji-Indian Community, Fiji Aid International, 2010.
• Finalist for Most Valuable Online Organizer, New Organizing Institute, 2009.
• Best Blogger in Ethnic Media for Promigrant.org, New America Media, 2009.

Skills

  • Immigration Law
  • Community Organizing
  • Legal Research
  • Immigration Issues
  • Legal Writing
  • Social Media
  • Community Outreach
  • Public Policy
  • Policy Analysis
  • Asylum
  • Immigration Policy
  • International Law
  • Lobbying
  • LGBT rights
  • Litigation
  • Blogging
  • Policy
  • Constitutional Law
  • LGBT community
  • Removal Defense
  • Naturalization
  • Federal Court Litigation
  • Editing
  • Courts
  • Legislation
  • Nonprofits
  • Research
  • Political Science
  • Civil Rights
  • Social Justice
  • Criminal Law
  • Human Rights
  • Grants
  • Grassroots Organizing
  • Political Campaigns
  • International Human...
  • Legislative Relations
  • International Relations
  • LGBT Family Law
  • Legal Issues
  • Fundraising
  • Political Consulting
  • Social Media Outreach
  • Legal Assistance
  • Strategic Communications
  • Family Law
  • Criminal Defense
  • Politics
  • Activism
  • Adjustment Of Status
  • See 35+  See less

Education

The George Washington University Law School

J.D., Law

Conferred with the Justice Thurgood Marshall Civil Liberties Award for distinguished accomplishment in the area of civil rights and civil liberties.

Activities and Societies: Lambda Law, South Asian Law Students Association. Pro-Bono: Appleseed Immigration Court Project

San Francisco State University

MA, International Relations

Published thesis on Decolonizing International Relations. Presented it at conferences such as the American Geographers Association and International Studies Association.

Activities and Societies: International Relations Journal Senior Editor, Graduate Teaching Assistant

CSU East Bay

Bachelor of Arts, Political Science Pre-Law Option

Published thesis on Critical Security Studies.

Graduated sumna cum laude while doing double full-time and working 30 hours a week.

Activities and Societies: The Undercurrent, Debate Team

Hayward High School

Diploma

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