Minyoung Ohm is a staff attorney with the Religious Immigration Services Section of CLINIC. Prior to joining CLINIC, she was an associate attorney at Carliner & Remes in Washington D.C. and practiced immigration law in a variety of areas, including asylum, family-based visa petitions, and business immigration matters. She graduated from the American University’s Washington College of Law in 2003. While in law school, she worked at Tahirih Justice Center providing immigration relief for survivors of domestic violence and served as a student advocate with the Washington College of Law’s Domestic Violence Clinic. She has a B.A. in English and French from Wellesley College and is a member of the New York State Bar.
1. How would you describe your time working for RIS?
I started working for RIS back in 2005, fresh out of law school. Back then the religious immigration section was a whole lot smaller and the caseload was much less demanding. I left CLINIC to work for a private immigration firm, then returned to CLINIC temporarily as a part time staff in 2008. I ended up staying on and continued the work with RIS. I’ve always felt that I am in a supportive environment where I can independently exercise my judgment and build my skills.
2. What inspires you to work in immigration?
My grandfather was a pastor who came to the US many years ago and ministered to immigrant Korean churches in the state of Washington. Back then the religious worker program was not in existence! He really loved the US, calling it a blessed nation of God. I really admired him and I often think it’s not a coincidence that I am working in religious immigration field. As an immigrant myself who came to the US at age 13, I watched my parents and other Korean immigrants facing discrimination and obstacles despite the fact that they are legitimate immigrants who are hard working and wanted what’s best for their families. I decided that I wanted to help these immigrants.
3. What do you enjoy most about working with RIS?
My heart is really with providing direct legal services to individuals. I enjoy interacting and advising RIS clients. RIS clients are always so gracious and quick to express gratitude so they make my job rewarding.
4. Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Seoul, South Korea. My grandfather who eventually became a US citizen filed family petitions for all his grown sons and daughters. Our family, as a beneficiary of that petition, immigrated to the US and settled in Seattle, Washington. I love the Pacific Northwest and I call Seattle my second home since I spent my teenage years there.
5. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
This is a hard question. There are so many places that I want to go but no time. Maybe I will fly to see my parents in South Korea and do a tour of Asia.
6. What are your favorite things to do when you’re not at work?
Relaxing at home with my three little girls, of course! We play games, do crafts, bake muffins, dance, or just talk, whatever they are in the mood for.
7. What is your hidden talent?
I grew up playing the piano. My mom is a talented singer and she was often called to sing in churches. I was her dedicated piano accompanist for many years. I also worked as a pianist for the church that I served in Seattle. I am now the dedicated pianist for my daughter whenever she plays violin at recitals.
8. What is the best advice you've ever received?
Quick to listen, slow to speak – we all often do the opposite but it really helps me to be a better lawyer, mother, spouse, and friend.
Staff Highlight: Minyoung Ohm