Carla I. Espinoza


University of Texas (El Paso), B.S. in Psychology & Legal Reasoning, 2009
DePaul University College of Law, Juris Doctor, 2012
*Certificate in Comparative and International Law


Illinois Supreme Court, 2012
United States Supreme Court, 2019
United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, 2014
United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, 2017
United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, 2021
United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, 2014

Specialized Programs

Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU), Asian Legal Studies
Webster University, Netherlands (Leiden), International Arbitration & Litigation


Attorney Espinoza grew up in the border town of El Paso, Texas. Her own family’s history and growing up in a border community exposed her to a wide range of migratory issues at a very early age. She attended University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) where she received a bachelor’s in science focusing in psychology and legal reasoning. As part of her college education, Ms. Espinoza studied in Pamplona, Spain, at the Universidad Pública de Navarra, where she began to develop an interest for international affairs and languages. While in college, Ms. Espinoza served as a research assistant for the Center for Law and Border Studies focusing on legal issues arising in the El Paso-Juarez border. The summer after graduation, she also served as a visiting editor for the Mexican Law Review at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM). At that point, it was very clear for Ms. Espinoza that a legal career would allow her to become the advocate for human rights that she always aspired to be.

Ms. Espinoza moved to Chicago in 2009 in order to pursue her legal career at DePaul University College of Law. As a law student, Ms. Espinoza devoted most of her volunteer work to DePaul’s Immigration Clinic and to other grassroots organizations focused on migrant rights. At the same time, Ms. Espinoza was chosen as a Sullivan Fellow for Human Rights at the International Human Rights Law Institute (IHRLI), where she worked on indigenous human rights cases in conjunction with Mexican non-for-profit organizations. This work, allowed Ms. Espinoza to bring high-profile human rights cases before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and present oral arguments during public hearings at this institution. One of those cases resulted in the creation of legal precedent for the Inter-American Human Rights System. Ms. Espinoza obtained her Juris Doctor degree and a certificate in international and comparative law in May 2012.

For Ms. Espinoza, immigration enforcement raises several human rights concerns. She believes that migrant rights ought to be zealously protected as fundamental individual rights. Following this belief, Ms. Espinoza began her practice as an immigration defense attorney focusing primarily on removal defense litigation and family-based immigration. Ms. Espinoza has worked on hundreds of immigration cases ranging from cancellations of removal, waivers, asylum, to adjustment of status cases, and, most notably, protection under the U.N. Convention Against Torture (CAT). Her zealous advocacy for her clients has resulted in several precedential decisions from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals which protect the rights of those seeking CAT protection. She has litigated immigration cases in seven different jurisdictions including the State of Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Georgia, Texas, and Virginia. Ms. Espinoza’s passion and commitment for immigration law make her a great advocate for immigrants’ rights.