McGeorge School of Law

Alumni making a difference: Katherine Fleming née Oldham ‘11

May 17, 2019

Katherine and Matt Fleming with their newborn daughter

Katherine '11 and Matt Fleming with their toddler daughter.

As the Removal Defense Project director for the newly established Family Unity, Education and Legal (FUEL) Network, Katherine (Oldman) Fleming's casework in 2018 nearly exclusively involved protecting Sacramento-area immigrants facing deportation.

The FUEL Network, an initiative created by the city of Sacramento to protect its immigrant residents, is managed by the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation in Sacramento and includes the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law Immigration Clinic as a key partner. Last year, Fleming's team represented 30 clients in removal proceedings under her supervision and representation.

"Compared to bigger cities, Sacramento has so many fewer immigration attorneys and nonprofits, so we have many more unmet needs," Fleming '11 said. She emphasized in a recent visit to the Immigration Clinic that "there are a lot of opportunities in the immigration field right now — both in representation and legal advocacy."

Fleming is motivated to help encourage and mentor the next generation of motivated McGeorge students.

"I learned a lot at the clinic from Professor Blake Nordahl and how he works with clients," she said. "He taught me how to do my best within a system that is rushing to detain immigrants — often without due process. Working at the clinic — first as a student and then as a team leader — helped me leverage my skills in the workforce."

Fleming moved back to the Sacramento area at the beginning of 2018 along with her husband, Matt Fleming '11, and their daughter after spending several years in San Diego. Prior to joining the FUEL Network, Fleming was an associate attorney at the Law Office of Andrew Nietor where a large part of her caseload consisted of court-appointed work representing people found mentally incompetent to represent themselves in removal proceedings. She also served as the directing attorney of the Domestic Violence Program at Casa Cornelia Law Center, a public interest law firm providing quality pro bono legal services to victims of human and civil rights violations in San Diego.