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AILA Mourns the Loss of Grace Hoppin: Fierce Legal Intellect, Tireless and Generous Mentor

Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 13101665 (posted Oct. 16, 2013)"

Grace Hoppin died at age 45 on Saturday, September 28, 2013, in San Francisco, after a short and defiant battle with cancer.

Grace, a National Merit Scholar, graduated with honors from the University of California at Berkeley, and then worked for the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Foreign Labor Certification for several years. She went on to study law at UC Hastings College of Law, where she had top 10% academic performance and served on a stellar law journal editorial board.

In 2002, she returned to the U.S. Department of Labor to serve as a senior Manpower Development Specialist, where she played a leading role in the development of regulations to overhaul the foreign labor certification program, which became PERM in 2005.

Grace was a lynchpin attorney for noted San Francisco immigration law firms Jackson & Hertogs LLP and Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP, among others. As a national expert on immigration and the Department of Labor, she was in constant demand to speak at conferences, seminars, and webcasts, and she generously shared her knowledge with all levels of attorneys in person, by email, and as a denizen of the AILA message boards. She served honorably and in great esteem for many years as a chairperson and member of various AILA national committees, earning the President's Award for her achievements and service to the association and for her contributions to the immigration legal field. Her 2011 victory in the BALCA decision Matter of Sanmina-Sci Corporation set valuable standards for the documentation of employee referral program recruitment in PERM cases. With both peers and pro bono clients, Grace was always generous with expert help and spirited encouragement for anyone in need of it.

Her passions and talent for work were trumped only by her fierce devotion, love, and commitment to her friends and family, and their reciprocal love and admiration were most evident over the last year.

Grace was a spirited and unapologetically independent woman who blazed her own trail through life. Grace was well known for her deep and thorough embrace of the things she loved, from the works of Joss Whedon, exotic orchids, African art, and her time at the pottery wheel creating beautiful masterpieces, to her collection of more than 100 pairs of designer John Fluevog's shoes.

She is survived by her parents, Carolyn and George S. Hoppin III, of Scottsdale, sisters Jane Hoppin of Chapel Hill, NC; Mary Firme, brother-in-law Matt Firme, niece Caroline Firme, and nephew Joey Firme of Austin, TX; dear friends Brad Post and Susan Leff; and honorary niece Sadie and nephew Frank of The City.

Donations in lieu of flowers may be made to a fund in her name at the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park.

Grace was much beloved and will be deeply missed.