Valeria Gomez is the William R. Davis Clinical Teaching Fellow in the Asylum and Human Rights Clinic, where law students represent refugees who have fled persecution and are seeking protection in the United States. Professor Gomez previously worked in her hometown of Knoxville, Tennessee, as an Equal Justice Works fellow with Volunteer Immigrant Defense Advocates (VIDA), a nonprofit legal services organization she co-founded in 2016. As an attorney with VIDA, she represented recently arrived unaccompanied immigrant children in removal proceedings, mentored new immigration practitioners, and gave frequent presentations to community groups.
Before co-founding VIDA, Professor Gomez was an Equal Justice Works fellow at the University of Tennessee College of Law’s Immigration Clinic, where she engaged in direct representation of unaccompanied minors as well as assisting in the instruction of clinic students. During much of her time as an Equal Justice Works fellow, she was the only pro bono attorney representing children in immigration court in East Tennessee -- an area encompassing 32 counties and more than 13,000 square miles. In recognition of her work, the Greater Knoxville Business Journal named Professor Gomez to its 2018 “40 Under 40” list of young leaders making a difference.
Professor Gomez earned her JD from the University of Tennessee College of Law where, along with her moot court partners, she won the Regional Champion and Regional Best Brief Award in the ABNYC National Moot Court Competition. Immediately after law school, she practiced employment law for two years at Butler Snow LLP in Nashville.
Valeria Gomez (with Karla McKanders), Refugee Reception and Perception: U.S. Detention Camps and German Welcome Centers, 40 Fordham International Law Journal 523 (2017).
Valeria Gomez spoke on a panel titled "'When All Else Fails' - Relief Under the Convention Against Torture." at the 2020 American Immigration Lawyers Assocation Asylum Conference. The panel, that was live on September 30, 2020, presented an overview of CAT, then address changes wrought by recent case law and strategies for how to deal with them and concluded with a discussion of recently proposed regulations. More information on the event can be found here.
Professor Valeria Gomez, the William R. Davis clinical teaching fellow, will speak on a panel entitled "Women and the Legal Battle for the Future of Asylum" at SUNY Cortland on March 25, 2020. Gomez will be discussing how a backlog in the immigration system makes immigration law work by law students vital.