Michelle N. Mendez is a Training and Legal Support Senior Attorney and the manager of the new Defending Vulnerable Populations Project. Before managing this project, Mendez oversaw CLINIC's role in the CARA Pro Bono Project in Dilley, Texas, which focuses on providing legal assistance to detained mothers and children. Prior to joining CLINIC, she served as senior managing attorney in the Immigration Legal Services Program at Catholic Charities for the Archdiocese of Washington where she began as an Equal Justice Works Fellow sponsored by DLA Piper. While at Catholic Charities, Mendez co-taught the Immigration Litigation Clinic at Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law from 2013 to 2016.
Mendez received her juris doctor from the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, and her bachelor’s degree from the University of Richmond. She also holds a certificate in nonprofit management from Georgetown University, and a professional certificate in peace and conflict resolution through the Rotary Peace Center at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand. Mendez was the 2015 American Immigration Lawyers Association’s Joseph Minsky Young Lawyer Award. The award recognized her leadership on Maryland Chapter 96 (2014)—the “special immigrant juvenile status law.” She also was recognized as a 2014 Very Important Professional in Maryland by The Daily Record, and recently updated and edited American Immigration Lawyers Association’s “Representing Clients in Immigration Court” (4th Ed). Mendez is a native Spanish speaker, originally from Medellín, Colombia, and also speaks French.