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Illegal immigrant in Fla. fights for law license

•  Law School News     updated  2012/10/06 15:51


A Florida man's bid to become the first illegal immigrant to obtain a law license in the United States met skepticism Tuesday from most of the state's Supreme Court justices.

Jose Godinez-Samperio came to the U.S. with his parents on visitors' visas when he was 9 years old, but the family never returned to Mexico. He graduated from New College in Florida, earned a law degree from Florida State University and passed the state bar exam last year.

"He's somebody who has done everything he's supposed to do. He complied with every rule," Godinez-Samperio's attorney and former American Bar Association president Talbot "Sandy" D'Alemberte, said after the hearing.

Godinez-Samperio's case is one of a few across the country. Illegal immigrants in New York and California also want to practice law there.

The Board of Bar Examiners in Florida found no reason to deny the 25-year-old Godinez-Samperio a license but asked the state's high court for guidance, said the board's lawyer, Robert Blythe.

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