Founding attorney of Ineō Law Group law group in Seattle serves those who don't qualify for free services, but can't realistically afford mainstream legal fees.

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Chris Bhang

What do you do? I practice 100-percent immigration law, and I am the founding attorney of Ineō Law Group. My partners and I opened this firm with the mission of providing legal services and protections to super important — yet often neglected and misunderstood — members of our society. We provide our services on a sliding-fee scale to reach those that make “too much” to qualify for free services, but cannot realistically afford the legal fees of many mainstream firms.

How did you get started in that field? Opening up a law firm was something that I thought I would want to do later in life, but thanks to a grant I received from Seattle University’s Access to Justice Institute, I was able to get started much sooner. This grant has given me the freedom to represent clients with a business model that prioritizes justice for the marginalized over billing $200/hour for a phone call.

What’s a typical day like? As soon as I wake up, my adrenaline starts pumping. I grab my laptop that I keep next to the bed and start my first round of emails (not the healthiest practice for achieving a good work/life balance). Depending on the day, I might be representing clients detained at the Northwest Detention Center, or I’ll be at the Impact Hub Seattle writing briefs. At night, I fall asleep reading law review articles on the aforementioned laptop.

What’s the best part of the job? I get to nerd out every day and, sometimes, save lives. With asylum cases, for example, I get to spend a lot of time studying the incredibly interesting histories of the social movements and conflicts many of my clients are fleeing from. Then, I literally get to use my knowledge of the law and global affairs to save lives with carefully crafted legal arguments. My job also makes me better at bar trivia.

What surprises people about what you do? Like many of the cool immigration lawyers out there, I don’t make a lot of money — and I’m very OK with that. I love my job, especially now that I have objective proof of its coolness.

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