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Sarah Elizabeth Yore-Van Oosterhout Lawyer Profile

Active and in good standing

Biography

In 2008, Sarah completed her undergraduate studies at Calvin College. During her time there, she studied Spanish and social work and took advantage of every opportunity to travel, study abroad, and volunteer in the Grand Rapids community. She spent a couple of weeks during the summers of 2003 and 2004 in El Salvador and studied for a semester in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, where she honed and perfected her Spanish language skills, as well as her understanding of life in developing nations. When she was stateside, Sarah volunteered in Grand Rapids schools, tutored adults in GED programs, and worked with immigrant mothers at Cherry Street Medical Clinic, all the time putting to good use her Spanish language fluency and social work training.

After graduating from Calvin College, Sarah moved to St. Petersburg, Florida, where she worked as an elementary special education teacher for Pinellas County Public Schools. Sarah maintained involvement with the Latino community by helping the school better communicate with Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking parents, translating during meetings, and assisting ESL students with their curriculum.

Two years later, Sarah returned to Michigan and began law school at the Michigan State University College of Law. She devoted her years in law school to the study of immigration and public interest law. While at MSU, Sarah worked for the Immigration Clinic and tackled tough victim-based U-visa, VAWA, and SIJ cases. She also earned high marks and the highest award for her skills in Research, Writing, and Advocacy.

Just after graduating law school and taking the Bar exam in the summer of 2012, Sarah, her partner, and young daughter moved to Mexico where her partner completed his doctoral research. While in Mexico, Sarah worked remotely for MSU College of Law’s Career Services department. She and her family also immersed themselves in the Mexican community, making the most of their time abroad while learning the language and, in general, falling in love with Mexico’s diverse culture.

Upon her return from Mexico in the spring of 2013, Sarah took a brief hiatus to give birth to her youngest daughter. In the fall of 2013, Sarah started work at the Diocese of Grand Rapids, Immigration Legal Services, serving as one of two full-time attorneys. She managed a wide variety of family-based immigration cases and grew accustomed to handling a high volume caseload while still offering high quality legal services. Also during her tenure at Immigration Legal Services, Sarah participated in all trainings made available to her and attended regular meetings for the Michigan Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (MCIRR), a group with which she is still affiliated.

Sarah left the Diocese of Grand Rapids in December 2014 to open a satellite law office for Waller Law Office, P.C., in Holland, Michigan, after detecting a large need for immigration legal services in the area. Sarah soon discovered for-profit legal services were not what Holland immigrants needed. And so, she pioneered Lighthouse Immigrant Advocates.

Since opening LIA, Sarah has been awarded the City of Holland’s Human Rights Council Social Justice Award. She speaks often at public events and educational presentations and works diligently promoting LIA and its programs.

Languages

Spanish

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