Law Office of Elisabeth A. Pellegrin

 Immigration & Nationality Law


Personal & Professional Experience in a Complex Context

Immigration and nationality law is said to share the greatest complexity only with tax law.  This comparison misses additional complications that are cores to immigration practice.  Emotions are often high as loved ones are being connected or separated and cases often involve violence or other risks of harm.  Language and cultural differences also loom large.  As if this were not enough, the law is constantly changing with policy shifts, new regulations, and other legal developments.  Immigration is not a simple area of law for an attorney to navigate or a simple time in life for a client to experience.  For these reasons, a skilled attorney can be critical to a positive experience in an immigration case.  

Elisabeth A. Pellegrin (Liz) fits this profile.  She has over a decade of professional experience working with immigrants in the area of immigration law.  She is a Certified Specialist in Immigration & Nationality Law by The State Bar of California. Her current private practice has been exclusively dedicated to immigration and nationality law since 2011.  Liz is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), the Alameda County Bar Association (ACBA), the National Lawyers Guild (NLG), and the National Immigration Project of the NLG.  She is the past Co-Chair of the San Francisco Bay Area NLG Chapter's Immigration Committee.  She serves on the Advisory Council of the Northern California Chapter of AILA and is currently Chair of the ACBA Immigration Section.  Liz is fully bilingual in written and oral Spanish.  Liz has represented clients in her practice from around the world, including individuals from Mexico, Brazil, Egypt, Italy, Guatemala, Argentina, El Salvador, Germany, Turkey, Venezuela, Serbia, Jamaica, Bolivia, the United Kingdom, Peru, Spain, Yemen, Kenya, Australia, France, Colombia, Honduras, Fiji, Japan, Honduras, and the United States.  She frequently presents on immigration issues, including at schools and churches.  Attorneys practicing in other areas of law also consult with Liz about immigration related issues.

Liz's experience goes beyond the professional.  She is a California, Bay Area native but comes from an extended family of immigrants.  She went through the entire immigration process with a family member, from immigrant petition to naturalization.  Liz has lived in multiple foreign countries.  She is a mother and raises her two children in a bilingual and bicultural home.  Liz's work is part of her personal identity.

Direct & Thoughtful Advocacy with a Client Focus

Before opening her own office in 2011 in downtown Oakland, Liz worked with multiple non-profit immigration legal service providers and private immigration law firms.  Based on these experiences, Liz decided to create an office where the attorney client relationship is valued above all else.  In an effort to foster this relationship, Liz does not work with assistants or paralegals.  Liz works directly with clients on all aspects of a case.  She feels that this focus allows for a level of mutual trust and respect that increases the chances of a positive experience and outcome in a case.  This is also just Liz's style.  She appreciates her clients and their lives and wants to communicate this through her time and attention.  

As a testament to the success of this model, Liz works entirely from unpaid referrals from private attorney colleagues, non-profit immigration service providers, and current and past clients.  Liz offers flexible scheduling with phone and Skype appointments available to make her services accessible for those in need.  Liz also offers payment plans to make her services affordable for those in need.  Fees can be paid in check, cash, money order or by credit card.  Liz's office is conveniently located in downtown Oakland right at the 12th Street Oakland City Center BART station.

Common Practice Areas

Liz provides representation in all stages of the immigration process, including reviewing case files and conducting legal research, preparing required forms with clients, guiding clients in gathering supporting documents, submitting applications, preparing clients for interviews, advocating on behalf of clients in letters and briefs and in person, and appealing negative decisions.  Liz most frequently provides representation in these areas:

Family Based Immigration & Waivers

  • Immigrant Petitions & Visas

  • Fiance Petitions & Visas

  • Provisional Unlawful Presence Waivers

  • Fraud, unlawful presence & other inadmissibility waivers

  • Applications for Legal Permanent Residency

Law Enforcement Visas

  • U Nonimmigrant Status (Crime Victim)

  • T Nonimmigrant Status (Trafficking Victim)

  • S Nonimmigrant Status (Criminal Informant)

  • Applications for Legal Permanent Residency based on these statuses


Humanitarian Options

  • Asylum

  • Withholding of Removal

  • Convention Against Torture

  • Temporary Protected Status

  • Violence Against Women Act

  • Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

  • Advance Parole

  • Applications for Legal Permanent Residency based on these statuses

  • Parole in place for military family members

Naturalization & Citizenship

  • Applications for Naturalization

  • Certificates of Citizenship

  • Abandonment of Legal Permanent Residency complications

  • Criminal conviction complications


Not Your Typical Attorney 

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Liz considers herself a public interest, social justice, or people's lawyer.  Her guiding principle is "Be the change you wish to see in the world."  This goal is what sent Liz abroad for years, led her to attend law school, and brought her into a career in immigration law.  It also is the foundation for how she relates with clients, colleagues, and the greater world.  Liz is active in the immigration attorney community, her local neighborhood, her children's schools, and in the broader political realm.  Liz believes that we all can strive to fight the overwhelming injustices of the world from the simplest actions and interactions to the more complex and coordinated efforts to combat systemic inequality.


University of California, Hastings College of the Law

  • Juris Doctor

  • Member of the Hastings Race & Poverty Law Journal

  • National Lawyers Guild Student Representative

  • Top student in Refugee & Human Rights Clinic and Hastings to Haiti Partnership

Bard College, New York

  • Bachelor of Arts with Political Studies Major and Concentration in Latin American & Iberrian Studies

  • Study abroad in Spain and Argentina

  • Bard Globalization & International Affairs Program

  • Bard Migrant Labor Project Student Coordinator, Intern with Central American Legal Assistance and Mayan Connection/Los Cimientos Alliance, and Organization of American States election observation in Guatemala

Prior Experience

  • Center for Gender & Refugee Studies, Consultant and Legal Fellow

  • Van Der Hout, Brigagliano & Nightingale, Attorney

  • Law Office of Mary Beth Kaufman, Attorney

  • Law Office of Erin J. Quinn, Attorney

  • Special Master Richard Boswell, Law Clerk

  • Legal Aid Society - Employment Law Center, Workers Rights Clinic Counselor

  • Executive Office for Immigration Review (Immigration Court), Law Clerk

  • International Institute of the Bay Area, Legal Fellow

  • Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights, Law Clerk

  • Trauma Resource Institute, Trained in the Trauma Resiliency Model

  • Time abroad in Argentina, Bolivia, Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Spain, as well as participation in projects in Haiti and Mexico


  • Karen Musalo, Elisabeth Pellegrin, and S. Shawn Roberts, Crimes Without Punishment: Violence Against Women in Guatemala, 21 Hastings Women's L.J. 161, Summer, 2010.


  • State Bar of California

  • American Immigration Lawyers Association, Northern California Chapter Advisory Council

  • National Lawyers Guild (NLG), National Immigration Project

  • NLG San Francisco Bay Area Chapter

  • Past Co-Chair of the San Francisco Bay Area NLG Chapter's Immigration Committee

  • Trauma Resource Institute, Past Board of Directors

  • Alameda County Bar Association, Immigration Section Executive Committee Chair



Contact Liz

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