Meet Staff Attorney Slater Stanley

Slater Stanley joined ALRP as a staff advocate in March 2024. He became our newest staff attorney in May after passing the California bar and being sworn in at ALRP’s offices.

Slater and Stephen swearing in

Slater Stanley (left) takes the attorney’s oath and is sworn in by notary public and ALRP HCAP Attorney Stephen Spano

Welcome to ALRP, and congrats on passing the bar! Could you start by introducing yourself, your background, and your role at ALRP?

I’m a new immigration and housing staff attorney at ALRP. My background is primarily in immigration, having interned with both Oasis Legal Services and The LGBT Asylum Project prior to passing the bar exam. Casework at these nonprofits typically concerned preparation of affirmative asylum applications and supporting evidence as well as hearing representation for LGBTQ-identified asylum seekers at the S.F. Asylum Office.

At ALRP I’ll be working on immigration cases supporting Ana Montano, ALRP’s Senior Immigration Attorney, to locate pro bono referrals and to develop a program by which we are able to take on removal (deportation) defense cases in-house. That is something that ALRP had not previously had the resources to do; I’m excited that we don’t have to refer every single case out now that we have two immigration attorneys. For those clients who meet our eligibility requirements and can demonstrate that they already have a removal case against them, we may prepare and file defensive asylum applications and/or represent them at their hearings at the S.F. Immigration Court.

Housing is newer to me; I’m still learning about that. My work concerns non-eviction housing cases—things like habitability, reasonable accommodations, subsidies, and other landlord-tenant issues.

How did you get interested in doing this work?

At NYU, my undergrad, my major was Mandarin Language and Chinese History. I had the opportunity to spend about a year and a half of college living in Shanghai.

I’ve always been interested in world history, and I think immigration is a great way to continue that learning—it’s helpful to know what’s going on in the world because world events trickle down, exemplifying why some clients show up when they do, and what reasons led them to leave.

When I went to law school, my goal was to work with queer people. I didn’t necessarily have a specific area of law in which I wanted to work. I have found that because immigration clients are often seeking asylum on the basis of being LGBTQ, I am frequently able to work with queer people in a legal setting. That motivates me as an advocate and makes me feel like I can be myself (as a queer person) in the process.

What are you most looking forward to as a newly-minted attorney at ALRP?

Queer immigration work checks many of my goal boxes: I get to work with our international LGBTQ community (and help them gain pathways to citizenship); continue learning about world history and geography; and utilize languages in a practical setting (I’m also learning Spanish).

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?

I worked for about five years, the period between undergrad and law school for me, as a makeup artist. It’s something I still do on the side—typically for a wedding here and there. I was doing drag in New York and in Shanghai, and doing my own makeup and having a queer community around me allowed me to build a professional makeup career and network. During that time, I provided makeup demonstrations at various nonprofits, such as SAGE and the Translatinx Network, as well as private institutions, such as Columbia University and Riker’s Island (Rosie’s transgender housing unit). I typically geared these presentations toward trans identifying audiences. For example, I demonstrated techniques like color correcting for stubble, which can help to feminize one’s appearance.

So ALRP is a good environment for me. I’m still doing outreach and workshops in the community—just about different things now! And I still get to work with and for queer people, like I was doing as a makeup artist.