"If the judges interpret the laws themselves, and suffer none else to interpret, they may easily make, of the laws, [a shredded] shipman's hose!" - King James I of England, around 1616.

“No class of the community ought to be allowed freer scope in the expression or publication of opinions as to the capacity, impartiality or integrity of judges than members of the bar. They have the best opportunities of observing and forming a correct judgment. They are in constant attendance on the courts. Hundreds of those who are called on to vote never enter a court-house, or if they do, it is only at intervals as jurors, witnesses or parties. To say that an attorney can only act or speak on this subject under liability to be called to account and to be deprived of his profession and livelihood by the very judge or judges whom he may consider it his duty to attack and expose, is a position too monstrous to be entertained for a moment under our present system,” Justice Sharwood in Ex Parte Steinman and Hensel, 95 Pa 220, 238-39 (1880).

“This case illustrates to me the serious consequences to the Bar itself of not affording the full protections of the First Amendment to its applicants for admission. For this record shows that [the rejected attorney candidate] has many of the qualities that are needed in the American Bar. It shows not only that [the rejected attorney candidate] has followed a high moral, ethical and patriotic course in all of the activities of his life, but also that he combines these more common virtues with the uncommon virtue of courage to stand by his principles at any cost.

It is such men as these who have most greatly honored the profession of the law. The legal profession will lose much of its nobility and its glory if it is not constantly replenished with lawyers like these. To force the Bar to become a group of thoroughly orthodox, time-serving, government-fearing individuals is to humiliate and degrade it.” In Re Anastaplo, 18 Ill. 2d 182, 163 N.E.2d 429 (1959), cert. granted, 362 U.S. 968 (1960), affirmed over strong dissent, 366 U.S. 82 (1961), Justice Black, Chief Justice Douglas and Justice Brennan, dissenting.

" I do not believe that the practice of law is a "privilege" which empowers Government to deny lawyers their constitutional rights. The mere fact that a lawyer has important responsibilities in society does not require or even permit the State to deprive him of those protections of freedom set out in the Bill of Rights for the precise purpose of insuring the independence of the individual against the Government and those acting for the Government”. Lathrop v Donohue, 367 US 820 (1961), Justice Black, dissenting.

"The legal profession must take great care not to emulate the many occupational groups that have managed to convert licensure from a sharp weapon of public defense into blunt instrument of self-enrichment". Walter Gellhorn, "The Abuse of Occupational Licensing", University of Chicago Law Review, Volume 44 Issue 1, September of 1976.

“Because the law requires that judges no matter how corrupt, who do not act in the clear absence of jurisdiction while performing a judicial act, are immune from suit, former Judge Ciavarella will escape liability for the vast majority of his conduct in this action. This is, to be sure, against the popular will, but it is the very oath which he is alleged to have so indecently, cavalierly, baselessly and willfully violated for personal gain that requires this Court to find him immune from suit”, District Judge A. Richard Caputo in H.T., et al, v. Ciavarella, Jr, et al, Case No. 3:09-cv-00286-ARC in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Document 336, page 18, November 20, 2009. This is about judges who were sentencing kids to juvenile detention for kickbacks.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Immigration lawyers' lawsuit: heroics or a self-serving mess? The Board of Directors and conflicts of interest.

In my previous blog, I pointed out that the lawsuit of a Washington State non-profit #NWIRP may be not as heroic as it is presented in the pro-Clinton and anti-Trump (right or wrong) press, especially that there was no legal basis for filing and prosecuting that lawsuit, and especially that the temporary restraining order was granted without an explanation or legal grounds by a court where at least two attorneys for NWIRP in the lawsuit were the court's interns or law clerks.

I have read the materials from the lawsuit, and am continuing to publish and analyze them.

Apparently, there were more smoke and mirrors, more conflicts of interest and more self-serving hypocrisy and conceptual mess in this lawsuit.

First of all, the players in the NWIRP lawsuit are definitely no heroes, and in this blog I will point out potential conflicts of interest of board members, officers and employees of NWIRP.

Here is the composition of the NWIRP's Board of Directors, obtained by me from their 2014 tax report (the latest report available), published on, a comprehensive website providing information about the U.S. non-profits.

Here is the composition of the Board of Directors of the plaintiff, NWIRP, as of today, from their own website, and a comparative table of dynamics of the board members.
The current composition of the board of directors:

2014 Board
2017 Board
Potential conflicts of interest
#MonicaBatraKashyap, President

Stayed on Board
Professor of Seattle School of Law in charge of externship with the presiding court

Personal connections with the court, potential for ex parte communications, for influence upon the court through the use of former externs and law clerks (two attorneys representing NWIRP in the lawsuit are former law clerks/externs of the court, likely placed by Kashyap);

#HilaryHan, Vice-President

Left the Board

The break NWIRP obtained in the lawsuit for its own lawyers and lawyers “associated” with it benefits Han’s private business

Marie Higuera, Director

Left the Board
The break NWIRP obtained in the lawsuit for its own lawyers and lawyers “associated” with it benefits Higuera’s private business

Kristen Kussman, Secretary

Stayed on the Board
Lawyer, powerful lobbyist

Omar Riojas, Director

Became the President

Julie Frye, Treasurer

Stayed the Treasurer

Huy Nyugen, Director

Left the Board

Teresa Mosqueda, Director

Stayed on Board
Political and Strategic Campaign Director, Washington State Labor Council

A conflict of interest, as Teresa Mosqueda is a state employee while the State AG, without participation in the lawsuit as a party, but after endorsing Mosqueda in her political run for the Council of Seattle, supported her non-profit in the lawsuit asserting “state statutory interest” in the lawsuit, but in reality making sure that the non-profit will not be sanctioned and will not lose fundraising capabilities

Steven Severin, Director

Stayed on Board
NY attorney, NWIRP says “retired”, but the registration in NY does not show retirement

May financially benefit from practicing in immigration courts
Jorge L. Baron, Executive Director

Left the Board

Francoise Maxie, Finance Director

Left the Board


Luanda Arai, Board member
Immigrant, grant manager for Washington Youth & Families Fund at Building Changes, not a lawyer


Richa Arora, Board member
Immigrant, former client of NWIRP, not a lawyer


Susi Collins
Immigrant, not a lawyer


Renata Garcia
Immigrant, lawyer, manager of mandatory CLE program with mandatory Washington State Bar, part of the state government (NWIRP version), or “staff liaison” of the Washington State MCLE program (the Bar Association’s version)

Washington State did not participate in the lawsuit as a party, but Washington State Attorney General asserted “state statutory interest” in support of the lawsuit through an amicus brief, and asserted that NWIRP is a partner of Attorney General’s office in fighting “notario fraud” (its own competition), to the point that:
1)      NWIRP snitches on “notaries” to AG;
2)      AG, in return, refers clients to NWIRP;
3)      AG gave NWIRP a $125,000 grant to help AG fight “notario fraud” (competition);
4)      AG does not prosecute NWIRP for participating in unregistered representation of immigration clients, including through non-attorney employees


Wamaitha Kiarie
Immigrant, former NWIRP client, not a lawyer

Sarah Litt
NY lawyer, formerly of Courtroom TV Network, NY registration site does not show retirement

May financially benefit in practicing in immigration courts

NWIRP has conflicts of interest in this lawsuit not only through its Board members, but also through its staff where there are a lot of non-attorney "advocates" and "legal assistants" providing legal services to immigrants - without any indication that those "advocates" and "assistants" are approved by the immigration Review Board and immigration courts to practice.

So, NWIRP at the same time "fights" "notario fraud" - consisting sometimes only in giving people advice regarding federal immigration proceedings for money (without regard whether the advice was correct or not, good or bad) - while allowing its personnel to do the very same thing, engage in notario fraud, employing, through its own admission, at least 11 "legal advocates" who are not registered representatives in immigration courts or Review Board:

By the way, practice by paralegals is not allowed in immigration courts.

Now, NWIRP is suing Trump's Attorney General and somehow asserts that they are violating NWIRP's "constitutional rights", while the rule that they are asking the court to lift (and that the court already stayed nationwide without an explanation or legal grounds, because the court's former law clerks/interns, now representing NWIRP, asked for it) existed since 2008, and was introduced by the Obama administration.

In other words, Trump's AG is being sued for enforcing Obama's rule.

And, the rule is a requirement for a representative in an immigration court:

  1. to be registered with the court (for an attorney) and approved for representation (for a non-attorney);
  2. to announce participation in a certain case and thus own up to the attorney's or representative's work;
  3. to stay in the case until the court relieves the attorney or representative.

The rule is actually THE SAME rule as exists in federal court, so Judge Richard Jones, by imposing a stay upon such a rule in immigration courts, and by doing it nationwide, shot federal courts, including his own, in their proverbial feet - because in ALL federal court proceedings and attorney, once stepped into the case, may not get out of the case without the court's permission.

NWIRP, through a sympathetic judge from a court that formerly employed some of their attorneys, changed that rule for themselves now.

Did it help consumers?

Did it protect NWIRP's current and potential clients?

Did it help clarify what constitutes the practice of law?

Did it help clarify who regulates the practice of law, and the practice in immigration courts and why?

I will write about that in one of my next blogs.

Stay tuned.

1 comment:

  1. My childs life was personally affected by this Group - NWIRP. My name is Kariuki Nderu and my wife was Dorcas Wamaitha Kiarie. Our case represents a corruption within courts that favour cases of women over men. Wamaitha claims that she was abused and faced problems that required she gets assistance from NWIRP. She wanted a Divorce and still have the advantage of getting US Citizenship. Her plan was to bring her parents and family by fraudulently obtaining US Citizenship.
    What is so interesting is that all accounts of Wamaithas conversation are fraudulent as she says that she was in a terrible place and needed help.
    The facts are as follows:
    1. Wamaitha voluntarily entered the United States 3 times, after traveling to Kenya. I paid for the tickets. (This would not have been possible if she had been abused)
    2. Wamaitha lived comfortably, in Issaquah Highlands with our daughter.
    3. Wamaitha chose to divorce via telling stories of abuse, to get away from me
    4. Wamaitha made a statement to Issaquah Police that she was leaving on her own volition and was never abused.

    Our story is one of Immigrants using NWIRP for the wrong reasons, and either NWIRP is gullible, or there is a corruption/conflict of interest that allows these practices to continue. I have since left the United States and now live in Kenya.