April 24-25: Thirty Years of VAWA! A Comprehensive Refresher on a Groundbreaking Law

Apr 24, 2024 12:00PM—Apr 25, 2024 5:00PM



Cost See conference fee options.

Event Contact Maria Lazzarino | Email


ASISTA Virtual CLE Conference

Thirty Years of VAWA! A Comprehensive Refresher on a Groundbreaking Law

 Wed., April 24 – Thur., April 25, 2024 (12-5pm ET)


A lot has changed in the thirty years since the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was enacted! To celebrate and reinforce its impact, ASISTA invites you to this virtual two-day conference, spread over two half-days. The program is intended for intermediate and new attorneys, DOJ Accredited Representatives, paralegals, and other legal advocates who have some experience working on cases under VAWA, but are seeking a refresher on the fundamentals.

Throughout the conference, national experts will explain the current laws and policies for various applications related to VAWA. In Day 1, the focus will be on VAWA self-petitions, including key changes from 2022, and VAWA-based green card applications before USCIS and consulates abroad. In Day 2, a more targeted lens will be turned toward issues in removal proceedings, special considerations for children, and some of the tricky ethical situations that can arise when representing a VAWA-eligible individual. Please note that this conference will focus primarily on the law and its application, and that a four-part course on practical skills will be offered the following month, using these VAWA fundamentals as the background for diving into recommended methods of building a strong survivor-based case. (Click here to access the full agenda)

Fundamentals/Intermediate Training: 8 CLE credits

Day ONE:  Wed., April 24 (12:00-5:00pm ET)

Session One: (2.0)  12:00-2:00pm ET

The VAWA Self Petition (Form I-360): In this opening session, we examine each element of a VAWA self-petition, and what the “status” means for your client. We spend particular time on issues like good moral character and threshold showings of battery or extreme cruelty, which frequently arise as difficult aspects. We also discuss a few points where requirements diverge depending on which qualifying relationship forms the basis of the petition (e.g., spouse of an abusive LPR, parent of an abusive USC over 21, etc.).


    • Kelly Bryne, Staff Attorney, ASISTA
    • Rocio Molina, Senior Legal Associate, VALOR US.  

Session Two: (2.0)  3:00-5:00pm ET

VAWA-Based Green Cards (Form I-485, Immigrant Visas):  Session Two will explore when a survivor can obtain not just the milestone of an approved VAWA self-petition, but also lawful permanent residency. We touch on special rules about inadmissibility and explore waivers of inadmissibility available to VAWA clients. While many VAWA recipients are eligible to adjust status in the U.S., we will also discuss the context of consular processing for an immigrant visa from abroad.


    • Rebecca Eissenova, Senior Staff Attorney, ASISTA
    • Sonya Peterkin, Owner, Law Office of S.A Peterkin
    • Lia Ocasio, Staff Attorney, ASISTA

Day TWO:  Thur., April 25 (12:00 – 5:00pm ET)

Session Three: (1.5)   12:00-1:30pm ET

VAWA in Removal Proceedings: Being in removal proceedings affects both the processes a survivor follows for VAWA applications, and the forms of VAWA-based relief they can pursue. In this session, we discuss considerations and strategies for VAWA self-petitioners and I-751 petitioners in removal proceedings, including whether and how to pursue prosecutorial discretion. We also review the elements and policies surrounding VAWA-based “Special Rule” cancellation of removal, an entirely separate form of relief only available from EOIR.


    • Leena Khandwala, Managing Attorney, Detention and Deportation Defense Initiative (DDDI), Rutgers Law, Immigrant Rights Clinic.
    • Cristina Velez, Legal & Policy Director, ASISTA

Session Four: (1.0) 2:00-3:00pm ET

VAWA Children and DerivativesIn this session, we highlight special considerations for working with children who are VAWA self-petitioners in their own rights, or derivatives. We discuss the basics of who can be a derivative, application of the Child Status Protection Act to VAWA, and other VAWA-specific protections against “aging out” of eligibility.


    • Rebecca Eissenova, Senior Staff AttorneyASISTA
    • Kathleen Irish, Attorney, The Law Office of Kathleen E. Irish, LLC.

Session Five: (1.5) 3:30-5:00pm ET

Common Ethical Conundrums in VAWA Cases: To close out the conference, we shift the focus from legal requirements to ethical ones. How can you ensure you are properly navigating sticky situations, like conflicts between principal applicants and derivatives? What about when your marriage-based case veers toward needing a VAWA self-petition, or even veers back into a marriage-based case after an assertion of abuse?  At registration, attendees are encouraged to submit ethical questions they have encountered in practice, for our national expert speakers to consider and answer here.


    • Elizabeth Markuci, Director of Hotline Services, Catholic Charities Community Services.
    • Cyrus Mehta, Managing Partner, Cyrus D. Mehta & Partners PLLC.
    • Lia Ocasio, Staff Attorney, ASISTA.

Prices for full training (5 sessions = 8 CLE credit hrs.)

Note: Early bird pricing ends on April 18th. Prices for training will increase $50 on Friday, April 19th. Registration will close the day before the training on Tuesday April 23, 2024 at 5pm ET. Processing fees apply for online payments.

CLE: 8 hrs of Texas MCLE credits will be applied for this conference. Certificates of attendance will be available upon request and completion of training.

Note: Event registration is not transferable. Training revenue is a critical component of ASISTA’s funding, and we depend on it to continue our operations. As a result, we ask that everyone attending the conference or accessing the session recordings register in the appropriate category. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation.

Questions: Contact Maria Lazzarino at manager@asistahelp.org with any questions.

Not an ASISTA Member, JOIN NOW 


    ASISTA mailing address: PO Box 12, Suffield, CT, 06078