Meet Maria C. Otto-Jacobs, an associate attorney at Stein Legal who believes in the power of empathy and in working to keep families together. Maria received her Juris Doctor from West Virginia University College of Law after completing her undergraduate studies at Wheeling Jesuit University in Political Science and Theology and Religious Studies. She holds bar admissions in Maryland and West Virginia. She has achieved notable honors, including the CALI Award in Legal Research/Writing and Pro Bono Distinction.
Maria's focus at Stein Legal is on representing individuals in affirmative applications, complex waivers of inadmissibility, with USCIS and in removal proceedings before the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), focusing on Asylum/Withholding/Convention Against Torture cases. Maria's professional background includes studying abroad in Brazil and Uganda, as well as completing a visiting semester at the William S. Richardson School of Law in Honolulu, Hawaii. These experiences have allowed her to connect with people from different cultures and to view cases from different perspectives, which has been incredibly helpful in her current work.
Maria decided to become an attorney because the practice of law always intrigued her. Even at the young age of five, she wrote in an assignment that her career goal was to be an attorney. Pursuing immigration law made sense for her, given her social justice and service-focused education in undergraduate studies and her work in the immigration clinic during law school.
Maria's colleagues say her greatest professional strengths are her writing skills, attention to detail, and ability to create personal connections with clients. Clients appreciate her ability to connect with them, make them feel comfortable, and easily discuss complex topics. What sets Maria apart from other attorneys who practice immigration law is her compassion. Her approach to practice is "person first," meaning that she connects with the person, meets them where they are, and shares her knowledge. With the support of her colleagues at Stein Legal, Maria has won many cases before the immigration judge.
Outside of work, Maria enjoys traveling and playing soccer, having been a collegiate soccer player and runner. She has found a soccer community in Washington, D.C., that allows her to stay active and continue her love for the game.