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Lea McDermid is fluent in Spanish. Prior to going into private practice, she worked as the Domestic Violence Staff Attorney in the Immigration and Refugee Services Program at Catholic Social Services in Anchorage, Alaska. She is a graduate of UC Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law. She has also practiced immigration law in San Francisco and she clerked for Chief Justice Dana Fabe of the Alaska Supreme Court.  As an undergraduate, she attended the University of California at Santa Cruz, where she graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with honors.

She is a member of the Alaska Bar Association and the California Bar Association. She is authorized to practice immigration law before the Department of Homeland Security (formerly known as the INS), immigration court, and the Board of Immigration Appeals. She has also been admitted to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. She is an active member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and the National Lawyers Guild Immigration Project. To be able to most effectively represent her noncitizen clients, her practice is limited to immigration and nationality law.

She studied Spanish in Mexico and Guatemala and worked in the fields of social services and criminal justice for six years in San Francisco and Santa Barbara, California before going to law school. Lea is passionate about traveling and she has traveled extensively in Mexico, Central America, Europe, and Thailand. In her free time she keeps busy hiking, running, skiing, rock climbing, cycling, kayaking, and white water rafting.

Publications by Lea McDermid:

  • Deportation is Different:  Noncitizens and Ineffective Assistance of Counsel, 89 Cal. L. Rev. 741, 741-45 (May, 2001). This article argues that it should be considered ineffective assistance of counsel when a criminal defense attorney fails to inform his/her noncitizen client of the immigration consequences of pleading guilty to a crime.

  • From Cellblocks to Classrooms - California by Kathleen Connolly, Lea McDermid, Vincent Schiraldi, and Dan Macallair  (October, 1996) (published in Crime and Wealth: Readings in the Political Economy of Criminal Justice, ed. John C. Curtin (1997). This study lead to the conclusion that for African-Americans, prisons are more accessible than public universities and California devotes more resources to incarcerating African-Americans than it does to educating them.

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