Q. and A. with Safe Passage Project Attorney of the Week, Megan Eiss-Proctor, Esq.
Megan Eiss-Proctor is a solo practitioner who specializes in the legal formation of start-ups, small businesses, and grassroots non-profits, and in devising solutions to potential problems that may be encountered in starting up a business. We interviewed Ms. Proctor to learn more about her as an individual, as a professional, and as a fellow Safe Passage attorney.
What was your work experience prior to becoming the solo practitioner that you are today?
Ms. Eiss-Proctor: Prior to starting law school, I worked as a teacher for Teach for America for two years. I was very interested in education and decided that I would like to pursue a career in law to make a difference in the education system in New York. While attending New York Law School, I was an active member of the Justice Action Center and developed a stronger an interest in public interest law. After graduating law school, I worked at a small Family Law firm that specialized in adoption law, where I was able to experience litigating in family courts all over the city. I then worked as a prosecutor for the Department of Probation for about a year, and later worked for a solo practitioner in matrimonial cases. I finally decided to start up my own law firm about three years ago after learning about the dire need for legal assistance and advice for individuals who plan to start up their own businesses or organizations. I also enjoy working with entrepreneurs.
Are you involved in any project aside from your work in your practice?
Ms. Eiss-Proctor: I am presently involved in a project to form a charter high school in Harlem, New York City. We are in the planning stages. Once the school is opened I would serve as a member of the Board of Trustees responsible for the establishment and operation of this high school.
What are your hobbies?
Ms. Eiss-Proctor: I am a huge reader. Two of my favorite books are “Life of Pi” by Yann Martel and “Start Something that Matters” by Blake Maycoskie. “Start Something that Matters” really taught me about the importance of and how to balance making money and doing good in the world.
I also enjoy traveling. Working with the youth in the Safe Passage program has inspired me to travel and learn more about other cultures.
What was your transition like working in an area of law that you have not practiced in like Immigration Law?
Ms. Eiss- Proctor: Both of the cases that I have worked on with Safe Passage are cases involving Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, so I heavily worked on cases involving family law, which I am familiar with. However, I have truly enjoyed learning about Immigration Law. I love Safe Passage and the area of immigration that it focuses on.
What has been your experience working on a Safe Passage case?
Ms. Eiss-Proctor: It has been amazing. I was intrigued by the immigrant youth that I worked with and am fascinated by their stories and their dreams to make a better life for themselves in the United States. Their stories inspire me to help them in their journey to make their dreams come true.
What memorable experience have you had working on a Safe Passage case?
Ms. Eiss-Proctor: Both times that I appeared before the family court for Safe Passage cases, I was a bit worried about how the family court judge would react to our requests and apprehensive as to how knowledgeable the judge would be on cases involving Special Immigration Juvenile Status. However, I was pleasantly surprised that the judges were very knowledgeable in this area of Immigration Law that intersects with Family Law and have been very receptive and supportive of these cases.
In general, what has been your experience working with the Safe Passage team?
Ms. Eiss-Proctor: It has been wonderful. The team is super organized and available. Everyone is willing to help you throughout every step of the case. The manuals that they provide are incredible and very informative.
I love Safe Passage, I am constantly recommending it to all of my colleagues.
Do you have any suggestions for an attorney planning to work on a Safe Passage case?
Ms. Eiss- Proctor: I would advise such attorneys to not be afraid to ask a question to the Safe Passage Team. No question is too dumb. Also, make sure that you use the students that you are paired up with as much as possible for research or for any questions they may have answers to by working in the Safe Passage program. They are truly amazing resources.
***Attorney of the Week feature by Safe Passage Advocate Natalie Bello, NYLS student Class of 2014
Website for Ms. Eiss-Proctor’s firm: www.eissproctorlaw.com