SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEW:

Lindsay G. Gray

CEO, VECINA

 

Over the course of the last few years, I have been asked by many non-immigration attorney friends what they can do to help the situation on the border.  This month, I’m pleased to introduce you all to Lindsay and VECINA, the answer to these pleas.  VECINA is a brand-new nonprofit organization whose mission is to empower immigrant justice advocates by mentoring attorneys, educating communities, and mobilizing volunteers.  Lindsay Gray is the CEO of VECINA and is an immigration attorney based in Austin, Texas.

Q: Lindsay, thank you for taking the time to speak with us. First off, please tell our readers about how VECINA came to be.

A: Thank you, Elina, for having me as your Spotlight Interview for this month. It is my pleasure to speak to you and provide your readers with some information regarding VECINA.  VECINA was born out of a recognized need for more attorneys taking pro bono cases for asylum seekers.  Over the past two years, the requests for pro bono asylum attorneys has grown tremendously.  While there are hundreds of very caring immigration lawyers, our reach can only go so far because we have other responsibilities such as our own law practices and our families.  On the flip side, there has been a rise in non-immigration attorneys reaching out to see how they can help, but these folks don’t have experience in immigration law.  VECINA has launched a mentoring program for non-immigration attorneys who have taken on an asylum case pro bono. We are so excited to have some of the top asylum attorneys in the country willing to expand their reach through this program.

Q: Tell us a little about your background.

A: I was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri and attended law school at the University of Denver.  Out of law school, I became a public defender in Colorado until I moved to Missouri in 2012.  In 2013, I opened my own practice and began to dive deeper into immigration law.  In 2017 I moved to Austin and continued in my practice, always with my eye on the possibility of eventually opening a nonprofit.  I am so excited it’s finally happened, and at such a key time for our country!

Q: What prompted you to become an attorney?

A: Haha, this is not a glamorous answer!  I made a list of graduate degrees and began crossing stuff off!  I really enjoy analyzing problems and I love to public speak, so law seemed like a good choice.  I was scared at first, but it was the best decision!

Q: Why did you choose to go into immigration law?

A:  I have always been interested in immigration law since I began studying Spanish and lived in Buenos Aires, Argentina for a year in college.  I really love the clients and seek to give them a voice when it is difficult for them to speak for themselves.

Q: What do you like best about your work?

A: I really enjoy teaching and watching attorneys wrestle with concepts before the lightbulb goes on.  It is especially rewarding in these times when pro bono immigration litigators are needed more than ever.

Q: How can our subscribers support VECINA?

A: We would love for you to support VECINA by making a donation or signing up as a volunteer attorney to take on a pro bono asylum case.  You can do both of these things on our website, vecina.org. You can also contact us at 512-856-4899 or admin@vecina.org.

Thank you, Lindsay, for everything you’re doing! We have many attorneys who don’t practice in the field of immigration, and hopefully, this will inspire them to go out and volunteer.  This is Elina signing-off until next month’s spotlight interview. Have a great month!

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