Skip to main content area Skip to main content area Skip to institutional navigation Skip to search Skip to section navigation

Marsha Chien

Skadden Fellow (LAS-ELC) in the National Origin, Immigration and Language Rights program
  • Profile Image
    Marsha Chien L’10

A graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, Marsha Chien L’10 grew up in Herndon, Virginia. Before enrolling at Penn Law, she worked as a consultant in New York for a year and then as a Peace Corps volunteer in a Mayan village in Guatemala.

An advocate for immigrant workers.
After graduation, Chien clerked for the Chief Judge of the Western District of Washington, the Honorable Marsha J. Pechman. She is now a Skadden Fellow at the Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center (LAS-ELC) in the National Origin, Immigration and Language Rights program. Her long-term career goal is to continue advocating on behalf of immigrant workers whether at a non-profit, in government, or in an academic setting.

In her own words, Marsha Chien talks about her journey to Penn Law and beyond.

Global impact.
I participated in the year-long Transnational Clinic, where I worked on a petition before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights on behalf of undocumented workers, an application for Special Immigrant Juvenile status, and on issues related to Liberian refugees in Ghana. I also participated in the Legislative Clinic, where I worked for the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs. In terms of leadership positions, I co-directed two student-run projects: the Immigrant Rights Project and the Unemployment Compensation Project. During the summers, I interned at Friends of Farmworkers, California Rural Legal Assistance, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, and the Immigrant Law Group in Portland, OR.

The clerkship difference.
When I started law school, I did not know any lawyers and had never heard of a “clerk.” So, I really appreciated the Career office’s introduction into that process. I remember the Career Office organized several meetings with professors who had previously clerked and invited a federal judge to talk about the application process. I do not know if I would have applied otherwise if I had not attended those events and the clerkship experience itself turned out to be an incredibly rare inside look into how litigation works.

The community has your back.
As a Toll Public Interest Scholar, I helped organize the annual Sparer symposium on restorative justice. The assignment was daunting, but it was a wonderful way to collaborate with not only the other scholars but professors, the law school administration, and the greater Philadelphia community. In planning the many events and panels, it really felt like we had the support of the entire law school. At the end of the symposium, sitting exhausted in Silverman Hall with the other Toll scholars, I remember recognizing that we were all really proud that it went well, but also a bit wistful that it was over. I think chasing that mixed feeling of pride in the result and nostalgia for the collegial process is what guides me in my career decisions today.