Ms. Shea’s law firm, Immigrants First, PLLC, merged with VFN in October 2021 when she became at Shareholder at Vanderpool Frostick & Nishanian, PC, (VFN) and head of the immigration law practice. She founded Immigrants First, PLLC in 2007 at the start of rigorous immigration enforcement in Prince William County and Manassas, Virginia. Prince William County had just passed regulations allowing the police to racially profile immigrants and turn them over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Ms. Shea became an outspoken advocate to protect the constitutional rights of immigrants by conducting Know Your Rights seminars to thousands of immigrants; testifying before human and civil rights commissions; and advocating for fair enforcement of immigration laws before the Prince William County Board of Supervisors. From its inception, Immigrants First, PLLC was about zealously protecting the rights of immigrants and providing excellent legal representation. Ms. Shea has personally won hundreds of cases concerning many areas of immigration: waivers, asylum, cancellation of removal, bond, Violence Against Women Act petitions, U and T visas, TPS, DACA, adjustment of status, naturalization and many more. As a result of Ms. Shea’s humanitarian contributions to Prince William County, she recently was name Prince William Living Magazine Influential Women of the Year for 2023 and the Prince William County Universal Human Rights 2021 Award. Ms. Shea was one of the key persons involved in ridding the Prince William County Adult Detention Center of the 287(g) memorandum with ICE that permitted the Detention Center to detain immigrants for ICE pick-up. She served on the Prince William County Jail Board for a brief time until she realized through a client matter that the detention center was continuing to illegally hold immigrants for ICE pick-up even after the disbandment of the 287(g) agreement. She therefore resigned her seat on the Jail Board so that she, with a team of lawyers, could prevent the Detention Center from unlawfully holding immigrants. Ms. Shea has won several other bar and community awards for her excellence in immigration law, including the Virginia Women Attorney Association Justicia Award in 2015. She is a published author on immigration law and has presented to and trained thousands of people on immigration, women’s human rights and constitutional law issues. She currently serves on the Virginia Women Attorney Association State Board, and is the Board Co-Chair of the Centreville Labor Resource Center/Immigration Forum. She has also served on the Boards of BEACON, an ESL nonprofit, and ACTS/Turning Points, a domestic violence shelter agency. Ms. Shea taught immigration law as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center, George Mason University, and Randolph-Macon College. Ms. Shea accomplished her B.A. undergraduate degree at Allegheny College in Meadville, PA; her LL.B. from the University of Sheffield School of Law in Sheffield, England; and her J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law in Boston, MA. She earned a certificate in nonprofit management from Georgetown University. Before becoming an immigration lawyer, Ms. Shea was an international corporate and intellectual property lawyer at top world-wide law firms in the United States and the United Kingdom, where she is a qualified solicitor and member of the Law Society of England and Wales. Her expertise was in intellectual property licensing, computer law, mergers and acquisitions, international joint ventures, and start-ups.

In addition to vigorously pursuing justice in the world, Ms. Shea’s other passion is in the realm of intuitive and healing arts, developed as a result of being an immigration lawyer and working with severely traumatized clients. For 20 years Ms. Shea has trained and worked as an Energy Medicine Healer, Reiki Master, Remote Viewer and Shamanic Practitioner and holds over 20 certifications. She developed her skills with some of the best trainers in the world, including through courses at the Monroe Institute, Charlottesville, Virginia. Ms. Shea has also extensively trained in how to recognize and work with trauma survivors. Her background allows greater facilitation of her client’s testimony and preparation of their cases.

Ms. Shea is holistic in her approach with clients and views the immigration experience as both a way to accomplish legal status in the United States, and, for some clients, as a path towards healing the abusive and in-just experiences that brought them to the United States. For years Ms. Shea has shared her knowledge on these “soft skills” with her fellow bar colleagues through CLEs and trainings on lawyer wellness, mindfulness and how to manage vicarious trauma for self and clients.