about melanie shapiro
Melanie Shapiro is an experienced immigration lawyer based on Norwood, Massachusetts. She works with clients from all over the U.S. and internationally to help keep their families together, keep them safe, and change their lives. It has been an honor for her to develop relationships with her clients, earn their trust, and be a part of their journeys. Her ultimate goal is to see her clients succeed in their lives. Her firm’s slogan is “holistic, compassionate lawyering” and she looks to help her clients with not just their immigration cases, but any other issues that might come up. Melanie is a second generation immigrant herself, so she is very dedicated to pave the way for new immigrants. Melanie’s practice focuses on removal defense, asylum, family petitions, naturalization, special immigration juvenile status, VAWA, U & T visas, appeals before the Board of Immigration Appeals and the First Circuit Court of appeals, and federal district court work. She also handles misdemeanor criminal cases and family law for her clients.
Melanie Shapiro has always been passionate about human rights and helping other people. While an undergraduate student at the University of Rhode Island, she co-founded an organization, Citizen Against Trafficking, to combat human trafficking. She received the Robert A. Rainville Leadership Award, the President’s Award for Academic Excellence, and completed a distinguished thesis as part of the honors program, entitled “Sex Trafficking and Decriminalized Prostitution in Rhode Island.” In law school, she was a Public Interest Scholar at Roger Williams University School of Law, where she won the highest marks in the Immigration Clinic.
Attorney Shapiro is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and serves on the AILA New England Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. AILA previously named Melanie a ProBono Star. Super Lawyers has named Melanie a Rising Star for the last several years. She volunteers her time providing community education to different organizations, including the LGBT Asylum Task Force.
Melanie is an Adjunct Professor of Law at Roger Williams University School of Law.
Melanie is also an accomplished artist. She is part of the Dedham Art Association and paints portraits inspired by her clients. They can be found all over the office. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her partner, daughter, dog, painting, riding horses, hiking, and enjoying the outdoors.
James Escobedo grew up in Providence, Rhode Island. A child of immigrants from Guatemala and Cuba James knows first-hand the struggles immigrants have in the United States. They received their Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science with a minor in Fine Arts from Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina. While at Guilford James was a Bonner Scholar and spent thousands of hours working in the local community. James worked specifically with refugees and first generation high school students considering higher education.
After graduation James worked as a union organizer for the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organization. He specifically worked for the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) based in Dudley, North Carolina. While there James spoke with migrant farm workers, some with HB1 visas and other who were undocumented, about their working conditions out on the fields and the benefits of being part of a union. He also assisted FLOC’s in-house counsel on grievances from current FLOC members against farm owners. This and his other experience with the Black Lives Matter movement in Greensboro inspired James to go into law, to help fight for justice for immigrants and other disenfranchised groups.
James attended Roger Williams University School of Law. While in law school James was a public interest scholar and participated in the immigration clinic. They also received the Honorable Thomas J. Caldarone, Jr. Fellowship award in recognition for their outstanding record and dedication to public interest. During their time in law school James worked in criminal defense, litigation, landlord tenant disputes and immigration.
Since law school James has been working in immigration. He has experience with family-based petitions, asylum, removal defense, VAWA, TPS and various waivers.
Outside of the legal world James is a darkroom photographer, musician, and activist. They enjoy spending time with their partner, their plants, and their two cats.
James is a member of the National Lawyers Guild and of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.