On January 25, IAALS hosted "Legal Services Evolution: Comparing the Roles of Allied Legal Professionals and Federal Accredited Representatives," the first of two webinars examining the shifting dynamics in legal service provision and advocating for an inclusive and consumer-focused approach to legal reforms.

Video of the event is available below.

Allied legal professional (ALP) programs can play a vital role in expanding access to justice in state civil matters. In fact, they have been playing a key role in expanding access to legal representation for immigrants in federal administrative matters for more than 70 years. Accredited representatives working for recognized non-profit immigrant-serving organizations are authorized by the Department of Justice to provide legal representation to immigrants before US Citizenship and Immigration Services and also immigration courts. This model is informative for states considering ALP programs. While some attorneys worry about potential consumer harm due to ALPs not holding a juris doctor degree or passing the bar exam, this webinar shed light on the impact non-attorney legal service providers play in federal civil matters, including immigration court representation, and how consumer protections are effectively implemented. This webinar highlighted the similarities and differences between ALPs and federal immigration accredited representatives and showcased how both programs have prioritized consumer protection while increasing access to legal help.

This webinar featured Hector Gonzalez (Authorized Representative and Executive Director, Connect Immigration), Daniel Hutto (Attorney and Founder, Law Office of Daniel Hutto), Nitasha Miller (Legal Paraprofessional, Law Office of Daniel Hutto), and Jennifer White (Founder and Legal Director, Arise Immigration Services), whose conversation was moderated by Michele Pistone (Professor, Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law).

For information about the second webinar, "The Role of Allied Legal Professionals: Systems Change and How the Healthcare Industry Succeeded in Expanding Career Paths," click here

"headshot of dark-haired man"Hector Gonzalez is a Department of Justice (DOJ) Fully Accredited Representative practicing Immigration Law out of his office in Gypsum, Colorado, Connect Immigration. He graduated from Villanova University wanting to pursue immigration law through their Villanova Interdisciplinary Immigration Studies Training for Advocates (VIISTA) program. He has been practicing immigration law for a total of two years, first as a Partial Representative with the United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) and now with Executive Office of Review (EOIR) and the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). His background is in the medical field, where he was a Registered Cardiac Invasive Specialist (RCIS) assisting the cardiologists in heart catheterizations. He was an RCIS for 11 years in many rolls ranging from team member to lead. He looks to further his experiences in the courts and help immigrants through the arduous legal process that is our immigration system for many years to come.

"headshot of brunette man"Upon earning his juris doctor, Daniel Hutto worked as a law clerk for a small civil and family law office in north Phoenix. Daniel was soon welcomed on as an associate attorney in the firm’s family law practice before he decided to join the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, where he quickly solidified his reputation as a strong advocate for justice. Daniel quickly ascended to a major crimes prosecutor by becoming a Vehicular Crimes Deputy County Attorney in less than a year. Daniel soon realized that justice was best served representing the accused and decided to re-enter private practice with a boutique criminal and family law firm in central Phoenix. After asserting himself as a strong advocate for criminal defendants and family law clients, Daniel joined one of the state’s largest criminal defense law firms. After five years of practice, Daniel founded the Law Office of Daniel Hutto, PLLC to provide an aggressive, complete, and caring law firm for Arizona individuals and families dealing with criminal and family law cases.

"headshot of dark-haired woman"Nitasha Miller is an Arizona Legal Paraprofessional with dual specialization, licensed to practice both family law and limited jurisdiction criminal defense pursuant to ACJA §7-201. Nitasha has worked in the legal field for 20 years throughout both private and governmental sectors, including roles with the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, case administrator and court reporter for the United States Bankruptcy Court, and court clerk to the Honorable Katherine Cooper of the Maricopa County Superior Court. Nitasha takes great pride in legal advocacy, assisting and bridging gaps in the judicial system—especially for those who otherwise may not be able to afford representation. She is on track to receive licensure for limited jurisdiction civil practice by the end of this year. 


"headshot of brunette woman"After helping hundreds of immigrants find safety and freedom in the U.S., Jennifer White founded Arise Immigration Services to respond to unmet needs in Pittsburgh and across the U.S. Jen is a former counselor and social worker and the way she practices law reflects her deep care for clients as well as her firmly held beliefs that all human beings are equal and should be treated as such. Jen also teaches immigration law through the Villanova Interdisciplinary Immigration Studies Training for Advocates Program. She attended the University of Oxford International Summer School in Forced Migration and received her JD from Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law, where she was a Public Interest Scholar. She received her BS in Clinical Psychology from the Honors Program at Liberty University, where she was a Division I Track and Field athlete/team captain and university-sponsored researcher.