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Tremaine Hemans: Lead Lawyer - All Woman - Jamaica Observer
All Woman

Tremaine Hemans: Lead Lawyer

SHE has a passion for service, and it's something Tremaine L Hemans, Esq, a Jamaican- born, Florida-barred immigration lawyer, says has been her greatest contribution to the world.

“I always seek to reach back and assist young people because there were many people who helped me become who I am,” she told All Woman.

“As the great Chronixx once said, 'We do it for the love, not for the likes.' I have found that leading a life of service has allowed me to achieve great things simply by doing it.”

As the managing attorney and CEO of the Hemans Law Group, PA, based in Miami and Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Hemans is eligible to practise US immigration law in all 50 states. She is a 2019 graduate of the Florida International University (FIU) College of Law in Miami, and is a proud immigrant hailing from Moneague, St Ann.

A young Tremaine was one of those children who knew at a very young age what she wanted to do.

“For a short time I thought I wanted to be a paediatrician, then a veterinarian, but I found my calling one day through seeing an example of what I wanted to be. I saw Casey Novak on Law and Order and Maxine Shaw on Living Single in the early 2000s and that changed my life forever. Before that time, I had never seen a lawyer, much less a black female lawyer, so 12-year-old outspoken Tremaine found her calling that day.”

She left Jamaica in 2007 after completing school at St Hilda's Diocesan High.

“I Initially experienced significant culture shocks on so many levels. However, I moved to a pretty diverse community and started off at community college, so my initial interactions with fellow students was fairly seamless. I did encounter a few professors who were conservative, and I have always been an outspoken person, so that made for fun class conversations. I did find that my exceptional Jamaican education served me very well when I started college as I had previous experience with several topics taught in class,” she shared.

Before law school, she'd entered the United States as an international student and attended Broward College, first obtaining her associates of arts in pre-law with the highest honours, and then her associates of science in paralegal studies with high honours. She then worked as a paralegal for five years and simultaneously obtained her bachelor's degree in legal assisting summa cum laude from Nova Southeastern University.

While attending FIU, Hemans was very active in her school and in community service. In law school she served as the 2018-2019 president of the HT Smith Black Law Students' Association and the Caribbean Students' Bar Association. She also served as a student ambassador, travelling the country recruiting minority students for FIU Law; a member of her school's diversity and inclusion committee; and a member of the FIU Law trial team. She served as a student attorney in the Carlos A Costa Immigration & Human Rights Clinic.

“Community service is a great passion of mine. It is imperative that young people get involved,” she said. “We tend to become complacent, as youth tricks us into believing that things are not our problem and that we still have time. The truth is that young people have the most impact on how society moves forward.”

In pursuing her passion for social justice and immigration law, Hemans interned in the Miami Immigration Court with the Office of the Principal Legal Advisor for the Department of Homeland Security and numerous law firms in the Miami area. In these positions she gained invaluable experience in the practice of immigration law, both from the Government and private practice perspectives, equipping her with the necessary tools to effectively represent clients before USCIS, The US Department of State, and the Immigration Court.

A published author in the University of the District of Colombia's Law Review for her article The Intersection of Race, Bond, and 'Crimmigration' in the United States, Hemans' passion lies in advocating for the rights of immigrants seeking their American dream just as she had when she entered the United States. She specialises in family-based applications, removal defence cases, and immigrants who have fallen victim to domestic violence and crimes. She is a member of the Florida Bar, The United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, and the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Asked how important it was to build the type of career and reputation she has, especially as a woman, Hemans said having examples of powerful women who encouraged and poured into other women have had the most significant effect on her life and career.

“Representation absolutely matters, so I do try to make sure that I make myself as visible and accessible as I can to young people who need my help. Moreover, people of colour and immigrants are disproportionately affected and punished by the law in the United States, but only five per cent of lawyers are black and a lesser two per cent are Hispanic/Latino. This statistic is what drives me and what prompted me to start my mentorship programme, LegallyTrem and my own law firm.”

The root of her resilience, she said, is her faith in God and the Jamaican spirit.

“I always say there is no one like us in this world, and I believe that. When I set my sights on a goal, it does not matter that I am a girl from a humble home in Moneague; that I am the first in my family to do many things; that I am the only black person/black woman in a room. The Bible says I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength and that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it. My mother Donna and guardian Mrs Telphia spoke life into those words to me as a child, and my mentor Maureen Anderson reminds me of it as many times as she can. Nothing is too great for God, so why not me?”

She explained that she leads a truly client-focused practice: “Having been through the process myself, I know what it feels like to feel hopeless in this situation and that makes me different from other practitioners.”

“My clients will tell you that I take a personal interest in each case and do my best to make them feel as comfortable as possible during the process,” she said. “Also, I worked with the Department of Homeland Security in the Immigration Court throughout my law school career. This experience gave me invaluable insight in how the system works, what the Government is looking for when someone applies for a benefit, and most of all, I am completely comfortable in an immigration courtroom because that is where I learnt to be a lawyer.”

Success, she said is a continuum, and there is more to come from this young attorney, who was recently chosen as the 2021-2022 Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division Pro Bono Award Honoree, given by the Florida Bar to a young lawyer who provides free legal services in their community.

“This achievement is very humbling as you are chosen based on the nomination of colleagues, for your service. This achievement is my greatest so far,” she said.

“Being an immigration lawyer, you encounter so many stories of people overcoming impossible odds... and I remember them all. There is one young lady in particular, who was a doctor in her native Venezuela, who bravely opposed the regime and was severely persecuted for it. The day I sat in court and was able to fight for her asylum is a day I will never forget. The gratitude she expressed when she won her case will stay with me forever. That was my first trial by the way…and I won.”

Married to Adrien, her “biggest cheerleader” and a huge motivator, Hemans said it is very important to have people in your life who see the vision, sometimes before you do.

When she's not working she loves to travel and experience new things, and is also an avid “feteran”.

“I attend and participate in the Miami Carnival parade almost every year with a Jamaican flag on each hip of course!” she laughed.

For Hemans, the only way to go now is forward.

“Having a growth mindset is very important to be successful,” she said. “One must be always willing to learn and grow. I have some things in mind and with God's help I am excited to see where my career takes me next.“

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