Catherine Gillespie

Supervising Attorney, Pearl Law Group

2Catherine Gillespie brings a unique and valuable perspective to her immigration practice. After working as a Supervising Attorney at Pearl Law Group for over three years, Catherine spent two years as an Asylum Officer with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and then 8 months as an Immigration Services Officer at a USCIS Field Office. This government work broadened Catherine’s perspective and has enhanced her immigration practice greatly. Since returning to Pearl Law Group in 2018, Catherine continues to partner with clients on a variety of complex immigration topics, including non-immigrant visas, family and employment-based immigration, naturalization, deferred action, and asylum. Catherine particularly enjoys working with HR professionals new to the world of immigration, providing them with a world-class onboarding experience and offering frequent onsite immigration training sessions and town hall forums. Catherine’s natural empathy for the foreign national population leads to loyal and grateful clients: after thanking Catherine for giving him personalized interview preparation, one foreign national exclaimed that the difference between Pearl and his previous counsel was “day and night!”

The recipient of the 2009 Community Service Award from the Bar Association of San Francisco’s Volunteer Legal Services Program, Catherine’s career consistently demonstrates a commitment to and passion for giving back.  Catherine began her legal career in the nonprofit world as a law clerk for the AIDS Legal Referral Panel, and she served a three-year term on the Board of Directors for the Eviction Defense Collaborative. She currently co-leads Pearl’s pro bono program, and Catherine recently helped launch Pearl’s first summer law clerk program to help recruit and retain the best and brightest young legal minds.

Trainings & Certifications:
San Francisco Asylum Office In-House Asylum Officer Training
Refugee, Asylum and International Operations Combined Training (RAIO CT)
Asylum Division Officer Training Course (ADOTC)
Middle East Refugee Processing (MERP) Training
San Francisco Field Office In-House N-400 Training
San Francisco Field Office In-House I-730 Training
USCIS Office of Legal Access Programs

Connection to Immigration

I come to immigration with a variety of perspectives: attorney, advocate, asylum officer, and immigration services officer, and friend and loved one. This holistic approach and broader perspective allows for a more genuine connection with and empathy for our clients.

Education

J.D., University of California, Hastings College of the Law
B.A., University of California, Berkeley (Peace and Conflict Studies, International and Area Studies, Public Policy)

What is a fun fact about you?

I am a big fan of pigeons! They see city buildings and urban architecture as a reminder of their native sea cliffs. They adapt to any challenges and are super tough. Living and working in a city, pigeons are my daily reminder to be tenacious.

Languages

English