Foley Hoag LLP
By: Frank Morris Lopez
Awards & Recognitions:
2017 Massachusetts Bar Foundation Legal Intern Fellowship Recipient
Elected Vice President of the Boston University School of Law Immigration Law and Policy Society for the 2017-2018 Academic Year
Amherst College Latinx Heritage Month Keynote Speaker 2019
2019, 2020 and 2021 Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court 2019 Pro Bono Honor Roll
Jacquie Chávez’s interest in the law sparked from her own family’s experiences as immigrants. Born in Mexico, Chávez grew up in San Diego, where from a young age, she helped her family navigate immigration law here in the U.S.
“It was hard, it was very difficult. I was their only resource,” Chávez recalled. “It felt at a certain point that maybe I knew more words that were medicine and immigration-related than may be normal for someone my age.”
Still, she says, “I’ve always been proud and happy to be that person for my family… being that bridge to help them connect to the outside world.”
In 2012, Chávez moved 3,000 miles away to attend Amherst College in Western Massachusetts. Needless to say, it was a bit of a culture shock for her.
“Even though I had been living in the U.S. for years, I had never been where I was in a predominantly white space. I had been warned about that, but the warnings are not the same as experiencing it,” she said.
Immediately, Chávez knew she had to get involved in La Causa, the Latinx and Latin American affinity group on campus, where she ultimately served as president. “It was really wanting to create a space for the students on campus and seeing their identities recognized,” she said.
Chávez spent much time advocating for the creation of a Latinx and Latin American Studies major on campus, which was finally implemented a year after she graduated. She also worked as community outreach coordinator for Amherst’s Queer Resource Center, where she focused on building a bridge at the intersection of the Latinx and queer communities.
Right after undergrad, Chávez attended Boston University School of Law, where she was elected vice president of both the Latin American Law Students Association and the Immigration Law and Policy Society. From there, she landed a job as an attorney at Foley Hoag LLP, where she also mentors law students of color. On the side, she does pro bono work assisting unaccompanied minors.
“Immigration was always going to be a part of my story and I didn’t want to get away from that. It’s some of the toughest work I do, but also some of the most rewarding,” Chávez said.
“Something I was scared of was the emotional toll of having to hear these children retell their stories and over again,” she said. “But to be in the room when somebody gets their residency, their green card, especially if it’s a child — that’s incredibly rewarding.”