Attorney Profile

Attorney Teresa Messer practices exclusively in the area of U.S. Immigration and Nationality law and has represented clients before the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, as well as before U.S. Consulates and Embassies, and the Immigration Court. Her immigration legal experience, commitment to her clients, and dedication to the legal profession has been recognized by the State Bar of Texas, Texas Super Lawyers, Texas Lawyer Magazine, Lawline.com, and Avvo.

Teresa’s own experience as the daughter of Vietnamese refugees cultivated her desire to assist other immigrants early on in her life. This desire ultimately led her to her calling – to help immigrants navigate through the complexities of U.S. Immigration and Nationality Law.

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While in law school, Teresa worked in Thailand for BPSOS Coalition to Abolish Modern-Day Slavery in Asia where she assisted refugees, survivors of torture, and victims of human trafficking in applying for refugee status, seeking appropriate legal remedies, and preparing for resettlement.  In addition, Teresa represented individuals, families, and children in their applications for asylum and refugee protection, special immigrant juvenile status, and deferred action (DACA) when she was a Student Attorney in the South Texas College of Law Asylum and Human Trafficking Clinic. Because of her volunteer work assisting immigrants and refugees while she was still a law student, she received the Pro Bono Honors Program Certificate by South Texas College of Law.

As an undergraduate at the University of Houston, she established a student organization that provided services such as English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, GED preparation, college admissions assistance, and clothing donations for refugees living in Houston. Teresa was later recognized by the Darfurian Association of Greater Houston for her volunteer contributions to the refugee community of Houston.

Teresa has written several immigration legal articles which have appeared in publications such as Law360 Expert Analysis, the University of Houston’s Online Law Journal, and Houston Young Lawyers Association Pocket Parts. She has presented on immigration law topics for organizations such as the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the South Asian Bar Association, the Katy Bar Association, the Houston Northwest Bar Association, the National Business Institute, and Lawline.

Teresa enjoys teaching and mentoring law students. She has guest lectured a family immigration course at Thurgood Marshall School of Law and supervised law students at the South Texas College of Law Asylum and Human Trafficking Clinic.

Teresa believes it is important to give back to her community. She has volunteered her immigration legal services at non-profit organizations such as YMCA International Services, United We Dream, Kids in Need of Defense, and Lawyers Against Human Trafficking. Today, she serves as on the board of the Houston Northwest Bar Association, BPSOS (Boat People SOS), and the State Bar of Texas Asian Pacific Interest Section. She also serves on the State Bar of Texas Laws Relating to Immigration and Nationality Committee. She received her Juris Doctor Degree from South Texas College of Law Houston and is admitted to the State Bar of Texas.

EDUCATION

  • South Texas College of Law Houston, JD
  • University of Houston, BA English & Philosophy, cum laude

 

COURT ADMISSIONS

  • Supreme Court of Texas
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas

 

PROFESSIONAL MEMBERSHIPS

  • State Bar of Texas, Member
  • State Bar of Texas, Asian Pacific Interest Section, Board Member
  • State Bar of Texas, Committee on Laws Relating to Immigration and Nationality, Member
  • American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), Texas Chapter Member
  • American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), National Committee Member (2016-2017)
  • Asian American Bar Association of Houston, Member
  • National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, Member
  • Houston Bar Association, Member
  • Houston Northwest Bar Association, Board Member

 

PRO BONO/COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT

  • BPSOS-Houston (Boat People SOS), Board Member
  • Kids In Need of Defense, Volunteer Attorney
  • Houston Bar Association Veterans Legal Initiative, Volunteer Attorney
  • YMCA International Services, Volunteer Attorney
  • United We Dream, Volunteer Attorney
  • Neighborhood Centers, Inc., Volunteer Attorney
  • South Texas College of Law Asylum & Human Trafficking Clinic, Volunteer Supervising Attorney

 

PRESENTATIONS

  • American Immigration Lawyers Association, The Trump Factor: Tackling Ethical Pitfalls and Stress in Uncharted Immigration Territory
  • South Asian Bar Association Houston, Immigration Issues: How Visa Revocation & Changes in Immigration Policy May Impact Your Clients & Community
  • Thurgood Marshall School of Law, Family Based Immigration Course
  • Houston Northwest Bar Association, Introduction to the US Refugee Admissions Process
  • Katy Bar Association, Refugee and Asylum Law
  • National Business Institute, Immigration Law: Handling the Most Common Types of Requests
  • Lawline.com, The Basics of Affirmative Asylum
  • United We Dream, DACA Workshop
  • BPSOS-Philadelphia, ESL Citizenship Class

 

PUBLICATIONS

  • AILA Leadership Blog, Shining a Light on Domestic Violence to Assist Immigrant Victims
  • Law360, Examining the Merits of Texas’ Syrian Refugee Injunction
  • Off the Record: Houston Law Review, Barred from Justice: The Duress Waiver to the Material Support Bar
  • Pocket Parts: Houston Young Lawyers Association, How the Supreme Court Decision on DOMA Impacts Binational Same-Sex Married Couples
  • Viet Philadelphia Newspaper, The Impact of DOMA on Immigration in Pennsylvania

 

SPECIAL HONORS

  • State Bar of Texas, Asian Pacific Interest Section, Pro Bono Award
  • State Bar of Texas, Membership in College of the State Bar of Texas
  • State Bar of Texas, Membership in Pro Bono College
  • State Bar of Texas, Care Commitment/Pro Bono Badge
  • Texas Super Lawyers, Inclusion in 2017 Rising Stars List
  • Texas Lawyer Magazine, 2017 Lawyers on the Rise
  • Lawline.com, Top 20 Women Faculty of 2016
  • Avvo, 2016 Clients’ Choice Award
  • The Lunar Cougar, Featured Alumni Spotlight
  • The National Advocates, Top 40 Under 40 Recognition
  • Lead Counsel, Lead Counsel Rating in Immigration Law
  • American Institute of Legal Counsel, Client Satisfaction Award
  • South Texas College of Law, Pro Bono Honors Program Certificate
  • Darfurian Association of Greater Houston, Certificate for Community Service
  • Council of Ethnic Organizations, Woman of the World Award
  • Order of Omega, Leadership Recognition
  • Asians Against Domestic Abuse, Certificate for Community Service