Attorney impacts lives
Seeing her byline in Oprah or House Beautiful surely would have been a thrill for Angelique Montano of Sagemont, who studied magazine journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, but Montano recently accomplished something much more important: Her name was attached to a precedent-setting Supreme Court case.
Montano and another attorney at FosterQuan LLP convinced justices to grant their client's case, dealing with the legal issue of allowing green-card holders to present a certain type of waiver to forgive past crimes and allow them to stay in the United States. Previously, the ability of legal immigrants in that category to defend themselves against certain crimes depended on where they lived and how their particular Federal Circuit Court interpreted the law.
The case involved a Pakistani man who is in the United States legally but was prohibited from presenting the waiver in immigration court simply because of the jurisdiction he lives in. His case was stuck for several years after he filed appeal after appeal to be heard.
"Now, he has that chance," said Montano.
Considering his attorney's credentials, Montano's client had a good chance of winning. She graduated cum laude from the University of Houston Law Center in 2001 after clerking in the 152nd District Court in Harris County. But the married mother of two sons said she never considered practicing law until she moved to Houston for volunteer work after graduating from college. Looking for a way to bolster her Spanish, in which she also majored in college, Montano became intrigued by immigration law when she was assigned to work as a social worker by Catholic Charities.
"When I got exposed, I decided, 'That's what I want to do,'" said Montano. "The direction of my life changed completely."
Not only do her cases vary from week to week, Montano said, but also "there's a very direct impact on people's lives. I see that impact all the time."
Name: Angelique Montano
Occupation: Attorney specializing in immigration issues
Fast Fact: Montano studied in Spain during college.