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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A Dynamic Duo

“You always think you’re the best person to train your children,” says Christina Chen ’78. “That’s also true in the law.” Her daughter, Leah Price ’10, works as an associate, handling deportation defense and asylum cases from their office in Nob Hill. “But the flip side,” Chen jokes, “is you can’t fire her.”

But Chen is more than just Price’s mom. “She’s my mentor,” says Price. “I still sit in on her more complicated cases to learn the tricks of the trade.”

Chen has worked in immigration law for more than 30 years, but her personal experience dates back much further. Born in China, Chen was just a girl when the Communist Revolution forced her family to flee to Macau. They waited for American visas for 12 years before finally being admitted as refugees.

After attending San Francisco State, she founded a women’s health clinic in Chinatown, before deciding to study law. “There were so few lawyers in the Chinese community back then; I thought it was necessary to add a voice,” she says.

Chen remembers UC Hastings as dedicated to serving the community, not “producing lawyers for the sake of producing lawyers.” Three decades later, Price found that still rings true. She participated in the UC Hastings Refugee and Human Rights Clinic, helping win asylum for a Mongolian woman. The experience showed Price how much good she could do in immigration law. And what’s more, she gets to work with her beloved mother every day.

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