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Attorney at Law
Photo credit: Frankie Certain, amcphotography
Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, I have been an advocate for social justice since before I entered high school. I aim to serve as a Community Lawyer, with a practice focused on immigration law. I represent primarily working families who seek to be reunited or to stay together in the United States. Going into our 10th year, the Law Office of Vanessa Frank seeks to continue to provide both top-notch legal services to our clients and also to serve as a resource for immigrant and human rights advocacy on California’s Central Coast. We hope to counsel our clients regarding all options available to them, helping people to identify their goals and find new and creative ways to meet those goals. Our success lies in the overwhelming community support this office has received over the years from our clients, the social justice and human rights community of Ventura, Santa Barbara and Los Angeles counties and from the many individuals who have sought to understand our nation’s current laws and policies and how those impact everyone’s daily lives.
“Voyager, there are no bridges, one builds them as one walks”
Lorella Thomas Hess
I am called to this work to help keep families together, to help my country embrace its diversity, and to affirm the interconnectedness of the world. I graduated from Pepperdine University School of Law in 2015 and represent clients seeking to acquire, maintain, or enhance legal status in the United States.
Before joining the Law Office of Vanessa Frank, I worked at a large full-service immigration firm in Pasadena and at a small Los Angeles firm specializing in difficult asylum cases. I also completed a post-bar fellowship with the Ventura County Public Defender in Veterans Court. As a law student, I served internships with the High Court of Uganda and with a chambers of family law barristers in London.
One of my college professors told us that the way to find out what you are truly passionate about is to think of what makes you angry, which made me think of our immigration system in this country and throughout the world. Since I graduated from UC San Diego with a bachelors in Political Science, I knew I wanted to work in an environment that would focus on immigration.
I am currently assisting the attorney with family-based petitions by helping to complete the appropriate forms and by communicating with our clients to provide us with the proper documentation. I am also fortunate to be helping the attorney with the preparation process for completing I-601A waivers under her supervision. Working with Vanessa has also allowed me to gain more insight and bring the experience to the other job I have as an accredited representative with a non-profit in Santa Barbara called Immigrant Hope Santa Barbara.
Working at an immigration law firm continues to prepare and equip me to help the community understand how difficult our immigration system can be. With the knowledge that I am gaining from the attorney, I hope that in the near future I could be able to become an immigration attorney and can be one of the good ones.
Born in a multicultural home, my Argentine mother and Mexican father continuously exposed me to diverse nationalities and cultures. Exposure to this environment has allowed me to gain a love for people of my or similar background, which I desire to assist in the future. Currently, I am a full-time student at California State University Northridge and studying to get a major in Marketing and a minor in Chicanx Studies. Once finishing my undergraduate education, I hope to go into law school then work in the legal immigration field and focus on removal defense.
Since working with Vanessa, it has continued to motivate me to advocate and vocalize the issue within our society that many do not have the privilege of voicing; resisting gentrification and the oppression of our immigrant community. I want to use my voice to serve the incarcerated and immigrant communities.
While being a student at Ventura High School and born in Santa Barbara, CA, I have always grown up in a community filled with many immigrants and children of immigrants. Hearing their inspiring, resilient, and captivating stories have guided me towards a path on helping immigrants. Learning about immigrant experiences and perspectives different from my own inspires me to be an advocate for this population.
In the future, I hope to major in Political Science and Chicanx Studies to become a lawyer and help those in need of legal services. I joined Vanessa Frank Law to learn more about immigration law and gain guidance on a career path. Being part of the team has enabled me to see changes in a positive direction that can be achieved when working with motivated and passionate people.
Since receiving my bachelors from California Lutheran University majoring in Sociology, I have been assisting Vanessa on a special research project and worked as a media intern in past. Before as a media intern, I updated, maintained and grew the office’s social media presence and developed outreach material and presentations. Another previous work experience is that I have interned at the Legal Aid Justice Center in their Immigrant Advocacy Program. Also, I have conducted original qualitative research focusing on the educational barriers and mental health issues of first generation Latina college students and was presented at the Pacific Sociological Association’s Annual Conference.
In the future, I want to continue with my education and eventually gain a PhD in Sociology. Not only that, but I will continue my passion to gain experiences in the field of community outreach for the immigrant community.
Summer Intern: 2019
I was born in Yucatán, Mexico and immigrated to Newbury Park, California at the age of six. I am a first-generation, low-income, and Latino student at the University of Southern California majoring in Political Science with a minor in Human Rights. Throughout my high school education, I have always been an advocate for myself, community members, and students. I have helped lower the cost of AP test in the CVUSD district, was a medical intern at the Westminster Free Clinic, and been part of a bilingual advocacy group named Student Advocates Leading Uplifting Decisions (S.A.L.U.D.).
As I am continue to learn more about being an advocate and resource to others, I have found that my passion are in areas of health care, immigration, and education. I aspire to continue my education in hopes to get a masters and eventually become a lawyer.
Both my parents immigrated from Mexico in their early adulthood to provide me with a better future. Although they were far away from their home country, both of them instilled a positive moral compass and traditions about my culture. This allowed me to form a powerful connection with my culture and continuously develop a Mexican identity.
Currently, I'm a full time student at the University of San Francisco majoring in Political Science with two minors in Philosophy and Legal Studies. Once finishing my Bachelors in
Arts, I hope to attend law school and work in the immigration legal field. In the future, I want and will continue to use my personal experiences to create a helping hand for others in my community and in the United States.
Summer Intern: 2019
Throughout my life, I have been fortunate to be surrounded by a loving, inclusive, and encouraging family. Hearing and watching the horrors about the separation of families at the border has made me gain a deep level of empathy for immigrant families. This motivated me to begin interning at the Law Office of Vanessa Frank as I believe that families are meant to stay together to live a safe and healthy life.
Currently, I’m a rising senior at El Camino High School and plan to study Journalism and Political Science. I hope to use my post-secondary education to become a journalist that brings the truth and facts about immigration issues.
Summer Intern: 2019
Nidia was born in Puebla, Mexico and grew up in Los Angeles. She is now a fourth-year undergraduate studying Psychology and Social Behavior and Chicano/Latino Studies. For the past three years she has been involved with the California Dream Network and other organizations that fight for immigrants' rights. During the summer of 2017 she worked at the Law Office of Vanessa Frank, assisting the paralegal with administrative matters and client management. After graduating this year, she hopes to continue working to fight for immigrants' rights.
January 2014- August 2014
Victor Escobar, a Peruvian national, is currently a second-year student at UC Hastings College of the Law. Ms. Frank initially represented Victor in his deportation proceedings while mentoring him to apply to law school. After she secured Victor's DACA, she hired him as a paralegal. Ms. Frank also encouraged Victor to volunteer at several pro-immigrant activist groups.
During his first summer in law school, Victor interned at the U.S. District Court for the Ninth Northern District of California. For his second summer, Victor will intern at the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office, one of the few public defender’s office with an immigration unit in the nation. During his third year, he will also join the nationally recognized Moot Court team at UC Hastings.
Victor would like to practice criminal and immigration law after graduating from Law School -- areas of law used to oppress the immigrant community.
David Gonzalez was born and raised in Mexico City, and he came to the United States at the age of 9. He works as a legal clerk at Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA), and he attended CAL State University Northridge (CSUN) where he is studying Economics and Chicano Studies. David is very passionate about immigration, being a DACA recipient and his life constantly revolving around immigration. He hopes to become an immigration attorney in the future to help his community. He currently lives in Los Angeles
He previously was a paralegal with the Law Office of Vanessa Frank, managing all aspects of client communication, office management and attorney support.
June 2014- August 2014
Andrea Estrada is a native of Guanajuato, Mexico and has lived in the U.S since 1997. She graduated from California State University Channel Islands, with a double major in Political Science and Chicano Studies in 2014.
She is currently an account manager for a real estate law firm in Palm Springs, California. She hopes to attend law school in the future in order to practice immigration or family law.
Gabriela Macias Mota
August 2015- May 2016
Originally from Jalisco, Mexico, Gabriela has lived in California since the age of 7 and now calls Oxnard her home. At an early age she understood the important role that education would play in her life and set out on a journey to achieve higher education. However as an undocumented student she encountered many struggles that began to shape her community involvement and soon she developed a passion for advocating for those who have been left without a voice.
Gabriela started out her undergraduate education at Oxnard College and transferred to UCSB where she earned Bachelor's degrees in Spanish and Latin American Studies. While a student, she advocated for the rights of undocumented students and of the greater immigrant community through her involvement with student organizations such as the Oxnard College DREAM Club and IDEAS of UCSB. Shortly after graduation, Gabriela decided to bring her community activism back home to her community and worked briefly as a Youth Organizer for CLUE of Ventura County. It was through her involvement with CLUE that she was able to connect with Vanessa Frank and shortly after started her work at the Law Office of Vanessa Frank where she further cemented her beliefs and commitment to empowering immigrant communities. Though the encouragement and insight that Vanessa provided for her, she was able to refocus her vision in pursuing a law degree.
She has found many of her strengths in non-profit leadership and currently works as a Program Manager for Future Leaders of America (FLA) in Ventura County. Previously in her role as Youth Organizer at FLA, she organized Latino youth to challenge educational inequities at the Oxnard Union High School District. Youth have urged the local district to adopt a policy change that will ensure all youth regardless of background will have access to college admissions required courses. Her goal is to pursue a law degree within the next ten years and continue to serve her community through advocacy, policy and reliable legal representation. Gabriela's biggest source of inspiration is and continues to be the people in her community who turn their struggle into their strength to keep forward. She hopes that today's youth will also be able to be able to find their inspiration in the prior generations who have fought to pave the way for those to come.
September 2017- September 2018
Lizbeth Gonzalez was born in Mexico City and raised in Oxnard, CA since the age of 3. She is a DACA recipient and has been working at the Law Office of Vanessa Frank since August 2017. She works as an assistant, organizing files and contacting clients. She is a high school Junior and plans on pursuing higher education in the near future. She is working at the office because she loves helping people out and also wants to save money for college.
January 2019-March 2019
Maritza Garcia-Lopez was a legal intern who graduated Ventura College of Law, March of 2019 and plans on taking the California Bar Exam in July 2019. Maritza assisted with compiling the information needed to file U-visa, Asylum and Naturalization petitions. Maritza believes practicing Immigration Law will allow her to serve those in need.
October 2018-September 2019
Iván Vega attended Ventura College and transferred to University California Santa Cruz, where he majored in Sociology. Also, Vega worked as a financial aid advisor for Ventura College.
As a rising alumna of University California Los Angeles (UCLA), Ashley is a double major in Political Science and English. She is part of the CALPIRG student organization, where undergraduates organize political campaigns. Ashley has a deep passion to help others and eventually wants to study law.
Once becoming a lawyer, she hopes to use the judicial system to fight everyday injustices in the United States. Through the summer at the immigration law firm, she was producing community outreach materials to form allyship with others.