Michelle Caldera-Kopf is a Senior Staff Attorney in the Immigration Practice Group and the Program Manager for the Liberty Defense Project. Michelle works in the Long Island Office where she represents low income immigrants at risk of removal and manages Empire Justice Center’s Liberty Defense Project.
Michelle has a deep knowledge of immigration law and broad range of experience as a lawyer and teacher. She represents immigrants at all stages of the immigration process, from applications for asylum, lawful permanent residence, VAWA and U-visas, and Special Immigrant Juvenile Status to removal defense, naturalization, and appeals to the Board of Immigration Appeals and federal courts. Michelle has practiced, taught, consulted, and trained other attorneys about immigration law since she graduated from Columbia Law School in 1998. Michelle served as a staff attorney at the New York Association for New Americans, and as a fellow at Human Rights Watch and later at the Asylum Clinic of the University of Connecticut Law School. Michelle taught Immigration Law and practiced in the Civil Rights, Immigration, and Mental Disability Law Clinics at Touro Law Center. Michelle has also worked as a public defender providing immigration legal advice to indigent criminal defendants and their attorneys as a Padilla Attorney at Suffolk County Legal Aid Society and at the Long Island Regional Immigration Assistance Center.
Prior to law school, Michelle was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Craiova, Romania. Michelle has also taught International Human Rights law in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia. Michelle speaks English, Spanish, Russian, and Romanian, but please be patient as the latter two are a little rusty.