Meghan is from an American military family, and after her father’s deployment to Iraq, she developed a desire to one day work in diplomacy and international relations. To pursue this calling, she attended the University of Notre Dame where she majored in Political Science and French, and spent one year as an exchange student at Sciences-Po in Paris, France.
After graduating cum laude in 2011, she volunteered with the Victim/Witness Division of Ohio’s Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office. In this role, she would travel to area hospitals to meet survivors of sexual assault to provide them with support and information during their forensic exams. She also volunteered with the Miami Valley’s Catholic Social Services’ Refugee Resettlement division.
This work led to the realization that her abstract hope to work in foreign policy needed concrete knowledge that only an education in law could provide. She decided to pursue her law degree at William and Mary in Virginia and focused her legal studies on international law, immigration, and human rights.
During law school, she interned at PASSOP in Cape Town, South Africa, and GAIN in Atlanta, Georgia, two non-profit organizations focused on the rights of refugees and humanitarian immigration relief. She also assisted Professor Christie Warren with comparative law and post-conflict justice research and served as an article editor on the William and Mary Law Review.
After law school, she interned at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), which investigates and prosecutes the atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s. After this internship, she was named the Drapers Scholar, which allowed her to earn an LL.M in Public International Law at Queen Mary University of London and live at Goodenough College. During her time in London, Meghan interned with two non-profit organizations, The AIRE Centre and Médecins Sans Frontiers (MSF or Doctors without Borders), and assisted these organizations with legal research and cases involving migrant clients who were asylum seekers, refugees, or victims of human trafficking.
Upon returning to the United States, Meghan worked as a Legal Research Consultant with LexisNexis in Dayton, Ohio. She then became an immigration associate at a boutique immigration law firm, in Richmond, Virginia, where she worked for over two years. She became an associate of VFN Immigrants First with Vanderpool, Frostick, & Nishanian’s Immigration Law Practice Group in October 2021, where she primarily handles family and humanitarian immigration, Special Immigrant Juvenile custody, and removal defense cases and appeals to the Board of Immigration Appeals and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. She is fluent in French and is in the process of learning Spanish. Her interests include theater, music, and international travel.
Q&A: Get to Know Meghan
Here’s what she enjoys doing outside of work.
Meghan enjoys traveling internationally, and attending concerts, plays, and musicals. Her favorite destinations so far have been England, Scotland, Ireland, Gibraltar, France, Italy, Germany, Mexico, Honduras, St. Lucia, South Africa, and Cambodia, but she is eager to keep exploring and adding stamps to her passport. She especially loves going to see shows in London’s West End, and whilst studying in London for a year, attended about fifty plays, musicals, and concerts. She also enjoys international cuisine and learning to cook specialties from the destinations she visits.
- Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), University of Notre Dame, 2011
- Institut d’Etudes Poltiques de Paris (Sciences-Po) 1-Year Study Abroad Program in Paris, France, 2009-2010
- Juris Doctor (J.D.), Marshall-Wythe School of Law William and Mary Law School Juris Doctorate, 2016
- Master of Laws in Public International Law (LL.M), Queen Mary University of London, 2018
- Immigration Lawyers
- Asylum and Convention Against Torture and other Humanitarian Relief Lawyers
- Board of Immigration Appeals
- Citizenship & Naturalization
- Family-based Immigration
- Fourth Circuit Court Appeals
- Nonimmigrant Visas
- Relief for Immigrant Children
- Removal Defense
- Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) Custody Petitions and Applications for SIJS
- Temporary Protected Status
- Victims of Trafficking (T Visa) or Crime (U Visa)
- Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Petitions
- Virginia State Bar
- Eastern District of Virginia
- Fourth Circut Court of Appeals
- Member of the Virginia Women Attorneys Association, Prince William Chapter
- Board Director of ARTFactory (formerly Center for the Arts), Manassas, Virginia.
- Drapers’ Scholar: Full scholarship and stipend to complete Master of Laws degree
- CALI Award: Highest Grade in International Human Rights Law
- William & Mary Law Review: Articles Editor 2015-20196
- Litigated as First Chair in Removal Proceedings and Won Asylum for Former Afghan Woman Senator at the Arlington Immigration Court in March 2022.
- Won Asylum in Removal Proceedings at the Arlington Immigration Court for a Honduran Woman and her Child who were victims of persecution by a gang due to their family relationship to a member of the Honduran military in October 2019.
- Won Custody Appeal Case in Fairfax Circuit Court in July 2022, which allowed the client, who had been abused and neglected by his parents in Guatemala, to win Special Immigrant Juvenile Status in March 2023.
- Won Custody Appeal Case in Shenandoah Circuit Court in March 2023 to allow the client, who had been abandoned by his mother in El Salvador, to apply for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status.
- Won Withholding of Removal Appeal Case for Detained Client from Mexico before the Board of Immigration Appeal and Successfully Obtained the Client’s Release from Detention in March 2022.
- Overcame Immigration Fraud Allegations in Removal Defense and Won Legal Permanent Residency for Woman from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in 2021 at the Arlington Immigration Court. If the fraud allegations had not been overcome, we were prepared to litigate a waiver of inadmissibility due to the extreme health, financial, and emotional hardship her U.S. citizen husband would face without her. In the alternative, we were also prepared it litigate applications for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT) due to the client’s status as a victim of sexual and gender-based violence, which was used as a weapon of war and non-international armed conflict in the DRC. This client had been without lawful immigration status for over twenty-years and, in spite of the passage of time, remained severely traumatized from her experiences in the DRC. The case was complex, involved preparing multiple witnesses, and also allowed me to use my French language skills.
- Drafted Appeal Brief for case before the Board of Immigration Appeals, which led to the case’s remand to Immigration Court in August 2022 and the client, who is a Honduran Woman and a victim of domestic violence, to win Withholding of Removal.
- Won over 35 custody cases for minor children asking for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status findings in Prince William County, Fairfax County, Winchester/Frederick County, Culpeper County, Stafford County, Waynesboro County, Botetourt County, and Shenandoah County.
- Won Motion for a Modification of a Custody Order to add Special Immigrant Juvenile Status factual findings for an individual who is over eighteen but under twenty-one years old at the Prince William Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court in September 2022.
- Won two motions to reopen in absentia orders of removal for detained clients in 2020, which stopped their imminent deportations and leading to their release from immigration detention.
- Won a motion to reopen an in absentia order of removal, and later termination of both the client and her husband’s removal defense cases, to allow them to receive parole-in-place as the parents of a member of the U.S. military. The parole-in-place will forgive their unlawful entries and presence, so they may adjust their status to lawful permanent residents.
- Overcame a Notice of Intent to Deny for VAWA applicant from Jordan who had been abused by his U.S. citizen wife, leading him to obtain permanent residency in 2021.
- Overcame a Notice of Intent to Deny I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence in 2020, leading the applicant, who had divorced his petitioner spouse, to receive his permanent legal permanent residence care.
- Assisted several naturalization applicants from 2020-2021 with cases at the Norfolk USCIS field office obtain disability exceptions for their civics and English tests, leading them to become U.S. citizens.
- Successfully obtained unlawful presence waivers, waivers of grounds of inadmissibility, and waivers for permission to reapply for admission for clients who would otherwise be ineligible for legal permanent residency.
- Assisted in successfully obtaining remand for three asylum appeal cases before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, which all also won remand from the Board of Immigration Appeals.
- Successfully obtained decisions for two unreasonably delayed immigration cases before the Eastern District Court of Virginia after filing complaints for writs of mandamus and under the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) in 2021.
- Successfully obtained prosecutorial discretion for several clients seeking administrative closure or dismissal of their removal proceedings, including a client who has a pending U visa as a victim of crime in the United States.
Good customer service. Meghan Phillips managed to win my custody case, very good lawyer, always on the lookout for her very kind clients all the time, I recommend this law firm 100 percent. They are honest, what I like the most is that they know what they are doing and are always aware of their clients.