A Stanford-educated engineer who now helps to unite families.
Life is just too interesting to have one career. Before law school I went to Stanford University and earned an Engineering degree in in Product Design. I loved inventing things and understanding the technical “guts” of the products that I was designing. After Stanford I went to work for an internet startup, but soon learned was more interested in protecting the legal rights of people like our software developers than the products we were building. So I decided to go to law school.
Some of my early work in the legal field was for technology giants like Yahoo! and Hewlett-Packard. But I also volunteered with a workers’ rights clinic. After joining the Bar in Washington State I opened my own practice and focused on bankruptcy, small business law, and contracts. The main reason I went into solo practice was to have the flexibility to spend time with my first child (now she’s five!). When I took on some pro bono immigration cases through the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP) I was quickly hooked on the practice area and decided to devote my practice to immigration law. Nothing in my career has been more rewarding than uniting love ones and building new lives in the United States.
I continue to volunteer a substantial amount of my time to helping disadvantaged immigrants. In addition to work for NWIRP I also take on pro bono cases from Catholic Charities, and I usually volunteer at Citizenship Days organized by OneAmerica. I love working as an immigration attorney since a lot of my job helps families be together after long periods of separation. Family is very important to me, and I can relate to my clients since my parents and brothers live on the East Coast. Although I feel close to them, I don’t see them in person as often as I would like. I work hard to ensure that my clients can be united with their families.
If you had told me 15 years ago when I was an engineering student at Stanford that I would now be an immigration attorney I would not have believed you, but I love my job. When I’m not working, I enjoy hiking and exploring southwest Washington with my husband and three kids.
- Mercedes Riggs Law Office, PLLC (Attorney)
- Law Offices of William Parks (Legal Assistant)
- KGACLC Workers Rights Interviewing and Advising Clinic (Student Intern)
- Santa Clara University School of Law (Research Fellow for BroadBand Institute of California)
- Magellan Navigation, Inc. (Law Clerk)
- Fernandez & Associates (Summer Associate/Patent Strategy Intern)
- Hewlett-Packard (Summer Legal Intern)
- Yahoo! (Summer Legal Intern)
- Become.com (Internet Researcher)
- Santa Clara University School of Law (Juris Doctorate)
- Stanford University (B.S. in Engineering – Product Design)