Maria Bocanegra

As an immigrant herself, Maria understands and empathizes with the challenges and struggles faced by immigrants, and she deeply appreciates the opportunities that were made possible for her by those who advocate for immigrants. It was that appreciation that led her to pursue a legal education, and it was her interactions with members of the immigrant community that solidified her interest to practice in the area of immigration law.

Maria was raised in Guatemala for the first eight years of her life. In 1994, she moved to the United States with her mother. Despite the constant rain, Maria fell in love with Washington and has lived here since.

Maria graduated from Seattle University School of Law and was admitted to the Washington State Bar in 2011. Through her involvement in student groups during her time as a law student, she was able to remain directly involved with the individuals she hoped to work with in the future. While a member of the Latino/a Law Students Association, she served as its President as well as its student liaison to the Latino/a Bar Association of Washington, and dedicated her spare time to mentoring youth and volunteering at legal clinics. As an active member of the Public Interest Law Foundation, Maria helped raised funds for summer grants for students working in the non-profit sector. The experiences enriched her legal education by exposing her to issues she would have never learned about from a casebook. She completed her Bachelor degree at the University of Washington in 2008, where she double majored in Philosophy and Latin American Studies.

Maria has made fighting for social justice the central hallmark of her professional career. Prior to joining S&O, she worked with El Centro de la Raza assisting immigrants to eliminate many of the barriers preventing them from fully participating in society. As a Rule 9 Intern with the Youth Advocacy Clinic at Seattle University, she represented juveniles charged with criminal offenses. She served as a law clerk at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in San Jose, Costa Rica, and she also interned at the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project in Seattle.

Maria’s favorite pastimes include hiking and traveling. She has been to Mexico, Italy, France, Spain, and Monaco, as well as to every country in Central America.

 Languages: Fluent in Spanish & English; Conversational French & Italian