Chay Sengkhounmany holds a Juris Doctor degree from Georgia State University College of Law, and a Bachelor's degree in Journalism, cum laude, from Middle Tennessee State University with minors in English and Psychology. Chay is an immigrant herself, as her family was forced to flee war-torn Laos when she was just three years old. They arrived in California in 1981 and struggled. Chay knows what it's like to be new to America, unable to speak English, scared, and unsure what the future may hold. It is her life's work to help others navigate the immigration and naturalization process.
Chay handles a variety of immigration matters but has extensive experience in humanitarian immigration relief, such as VAWA, T visas and U visas. She has practiced immigration law since 2004.
Prior to going into private practice, Chay worked in the non-profit sector for ten years. She worked for Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands and directed the Middle Tennessee Medical-Legal Partnership (MTMLP) between the Legal Aid Society, the United Neighborhood Health Services, and Shade Tree Clinic. Through the MTMLP, Chay handled general civil legal matters for the patients of the medical clinics and provided training and education to the medical staff and students.
Before joining Legal Aid Society in 2007, Chay worked as a staff attorney for the Immigrant Legal Clinic of the Tennessee Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. She was hired to develop the Immigrant Legal Clinic in 2004 where she represented immigrant victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, or stalking. Chay frequently presents and writes on immigration law, specifically issues related to victims of abuse or crime.
Chay is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and presented at the AILA National Conference in 2012 and 2013. She is also a member of the American Bar Association, Tennessee Bar Association, State Bar of Georgia, Nashville Bar Association, and the Lawyers' Association for Women, Marion Griffin Chapter. She is a 2009 graduate of the Tennessee Bar Association’s Leadership Law Program. She was honored by AILA as the 2014 First Quarter Pro Bono Hero for the Southeast Region. In 2010, Mercer University Press published her book on the history of the Lawyers Club of Atlanta. In 2016, she was elected Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, which is an honor bestowed to the top 1% of attorneys within each state.
Chay is licensed to practice law in Tennessee and is an inactive member in good standing in Georgia. She lives in the Nashville area of Tennessee with her husband Ouday and their three children.
Chay's father shared their family's personal immigration story with the Nashville Public Library and StoryCorps in 2014. Learn more and find out where to listen on our Media page.
- Chay Sengkhounmany & Stephen C. Dorner, A Lawyer in the Examination Room, 47 No. 7-8 Clearinghouse Review 313-320 (2013)
- Tracie Klinke, Monica Modi Khant & Chay Sengkhounmany, Current Trends and Advanced Practice Strategies in VAWA Cases, in Immigration Practice Pointers: Tips for Handling Complex Cases, 715-724 (Rizwan Hassan et al. eds., American Immigration Lawyers Association 2013-2014 ed. 2013)
- Chay Sengkhounmany, I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant, in AILA’s Immigration Forms Toolbox (American Immigration Lawyers Association 2013-2014 ed. 2013)
- Chay Sengkhounmany, Completing Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant, in Forms & Fundamentals, 162-165 (American Immigration Lawyers Association 2012-2013 ed. 2012)
- Chay Sengkhounmany, The Lawyers Club of Atlanta (Mercer University Press 2010)