Christine Lockhart Poarch
A frequent speaker on immigration law, Christine serves on the Board of Governors of the Federal Bar Association’s Immigration Law Section and has worked extensively on the section’s legislative proposal for immigration court reform. Licensed in Texas (1999) and Virginia (2001) Christine is also licensed before the U.S. Supreme Court, the Fourth and Eleventh Circuit Courts of Appeals, the Southern District of Texas, and the Eastern and Western District Courts of Virginia. In 2014, Christine was named a Virginia Law Foundation Fellow, and in 2019 she became a Fellow of the Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys. She founded Poarch Law Firm in 2003 and welcomed Rachel Thompson to the firm as partner in January 2020 when it became Poarch Thompson Law.
Who is your hero?
Aside from basic necessities, what could you not go a day without (activity, person, thing, etc)?
Coffee, lots of coffee.
What one luxury would you take with you on a deserted island?
If you had a warning label, what would yours say?
One warning label is not enough.
What celebrity would you like to meet at Starbucks for a cup of coffee?
If you could eat only one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
A native of Salem, Virginia, Christine pursued both her undergraduate and graduate education in the cultural melting pot of Houston, Texas. It was there that she first worked extensively with the immigrant community in domestic violence, health care, and literacy initiatives. When Christine returned to southwestern Virginia in 2001, she began representing the diverse local immigrant community as part of the Justice for Our Neighbors (JFON) Immigration Law Clinic, a national ministry of the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), later serving on the local board. She founded Poarch Law Firm in 2003 and welcomed Rachel Thompson to the firm as partner in January 2020 when it became Poarch Thompson Law.
Licensed in Texas in 1999 and in Virginia in 2001, Christine practices exclusively in the area of immigration and adoption law. Christine is also licensed before the U.S. Supreme Court, the Fourth and Eleventh Circuit Courts of Appeals, the Southern District of Texas, and the Eastern and Western District Courts of Virginia. Christine is a Virginia Law Foundation Fellow (2014), and a Fellow of the Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys (2019). Christine was named a Virginia Lawyer’s Weekly “Leader in the Law” for 2019.
Christine is a frequent speaker on immigration law topics at national, state, and local conferences. She believes that changing hearts, minds, and values begin with the simplest conversations and she has them with as many people as she can, as often as she must. In 2012, she launched the Poarch Law Education Project with the goal of providing basic education about immigration to combat immigration fraud and later, to shift community perceptions about immigration.
Christine has visited Portugal, Uganda, Czech Republic, England, Hungary, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Italy, Germany, The Netherlands, Austria and Mexico, and briefly lived in Ecuador. When she’s not working, you can usually find Christine on her front porch with a good book and a cup of coffee enjoying an incredible view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Christine lives in Salem with her husband and their three daughters.
- Federal Bar Association Immigration Law Section, United States District Courts (Member, 2009 – Present; Board of Governors, 2012 – Present; Program Chair, 2014 – 2015; Government Liaison Committee, 2014 – 2015)
- American Immigration Lawyers Association (Member, 2003 – Present)
- Virginia State Bar Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Committee (2015-Present, Chair 2017-Present)
- Virginia State Bar Standing Committee on Unauthorized Practice of Law (Member, 2008 – 2014; Vice-Chair, 2011 – 2012; Chair, 2012 – 2014)
- Roanoke Bar Association (2006 – Present)
- Virginia Women Attorneys Association (2001 – Present)
- Salem/Roanoke County Bar Association (2004 – Present)
- The Poarch Law Education Project (Founder, Board of Directors, and Volunteer Attorney, 2012 – Present
- Tia’s Place (Founder, Board of Directors, and Volunteer Attorney, (2009 – 2012)
- Women’s Professional Leadership Network (2010 – Present)
- Capital Area Immigrant Rights Coalition (2005 – Present)
- National Immigration Project (2006 – Present)
- Salem Educational Foundation & Alumni Association (Board, 2001 – 2008; Media Chair, 2013 – Present)
- West Salem Parent-Teacher Association (Board, 2011 – Present)
- First United Methodist Church (Small Group Leader, 2013 – Present)
- Virginia Latino Advisory Board, Governor’s Office, Commonwealth of Virginia (2014 – 2015)
- Cohort for Change, Batten Leadership Institute, Hollins University (2013)
- Ted Dalton American Inn of Court (Associate, 2007 – 2011)
- Justice for Our Neighbors, United Methodist Committee on Relief (Volunteer and Board Member, 2001 – 2006)
- J.D., South Texas College of Law, Houston, Texas, 1999
- B.A. in English, University of St. Thomas, Houston, Texas, 1994 Minors: Spanish, Philosophy, and Theology
- Virginia State Bar (2001)
- State Bar of Texas (1999)
- Western District of Virginia
- Eastern District of Virginia
- Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals
- Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals
- United States Supreme Court
- Inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America, Best Lawyers 2017
- Fellow, Virginia Law Foundation (2015 – Present)
- AV Preeminent Rating, Martindale-Hubbell
- Woman of Achievement for Law, DePaul Family Services (2014; Nominee, 2013)
- Super Lawyer Rising Star (2010 – 2012)
- Top Attorney for Immigration Law, Roanoker Magazine (2011 – 2012)
- Top 20 Under 40, by Blue Ridge Business Journal (2010)
- Small Business of the Year, Roanoke Chamber of Commerce (Nominee, 2010, 2012, and 2013)
Poarch, Christine L. “Immigration Court Reform: Congress, Heed the Call.” Federal Lawyer 1 Oct. 2016: 10-12, 19. Print.
Poarch, Christine L. and J. McLane Layton. “Avoiding the Perils and Pitfalls of Inter country Adoption from Non-Hague Countries: Considerations for Agencies and Adoptive Parents Part II: Orphan Processing:
Navigating Road Blocks and Delays.” Adoption Advocate. National Council for Adoption., 1 March 2015. Web.
Poarch, Christine L. and J. McLane Layton. “Avoiding the Perils and Pitfalls of Inter country Adoption from Non-Hague Countries: Considerations for Agencies and Adoptive Parents Part I: The Orphan Definition: What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You.” Adoption Advocate. National Council for Adoption., 1 Feb. 2015. Web.
Calderon, Ofelia L. and Christine L. Poarch, “Rights of Aliens in the United States.” What Every Lawyer Needs to Know About Immigration Law Ed. Hermansky, Jennifer, et al. Chicago: American Bar Association Book Publishing, 2015. 55-75. Print.
Poarch, Christine L. “Immigration Options for Juveniles: From Technical Solutions to Adaptive Change.” Federal Lawyer 1 Oct 2014: 36-42, 61. Print.
Poarch, Christine L. “When Federal Immigration Law is a State Issue: Special Immigrant Juveniles in Virginia.” Virginia Lawyer 1 Oct. 2014: 16-18. Print.
Poarch, Christine L. “The Federal Bar Association’s Proposal for the Creation of a Federal Immigration Court.” Federal Lawyer 1 Apr. 2014: 10-12. Print.
201 S. College Ave, Salem VA 24153
The results of client matters depend on a variety of factors unique to each matter. Past successes do not predict or guarantee future successes.