We thought we were just being polite. Turns out, we were on to something. We offer all visitors to the office a drink when they arrive. In the hot, humid DC summer, a tall glass of water is almost always eagerly accepted. In winters increasing defined by the rude arrival of a polar vortex, coffee and tea warm people’s hands and hearts. Now we learn that we are not simply being polite and hospitable, but we are engaging in a good business practice.
We are thrilled to welcome and announce the newest addition to our BR family, Elanie Cintron. Elanie has joined us in DC as an associate attorney from North Carolina by way of Brooklyn, New York (where she received countless awards and honors as a law student at Hofstra University, including the prestigious Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Fellowship) and Denver, Colorado (where she immediately set herself apart as a rising star in the immigration field as an associate attorney with powerhouse firm Lichter Immigration).
Last week, Benach Collopy began to feel normal again as attorney Rachael Petterson returned from maternity leave and Satsita Muradova joined the firm. It is really nice to have old friends close. Rachael has been on leave since late January when baby Mae Bozelli decided to make her appearance nearly two months early. Of course, earlier that week, we had just started our discussions about handling Rachael’s cases when she went on leave in April!
A couple of months ago, I got to enjoy my fifteen minutes of fame when my client became the poster child for problems caused for immigrants in immigration court by the government shutdown. I wrote a blog piece, wrote another for the American Immigration Lawyer’s Association and, next thing I know, I am speaking to Robert Siegel of NPR’s All Things Considered and people I have not heard from in decades called me to say they heard me on the radio.
Last night, Jen Cook and I went to the National Council for Transgender Equality’s (NCTE) 10th Anniversary event. The evening was themed “Our Moment,” reflecting the organization’s intention to build upon the successes of the gay rights movement in the past year, including the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the Windsor decision, and the many states that have enacted gay marriage. In fact, even as the party went on, the festivities were interrupted to announce that Hawaii became the 16th state to allow for gay marriage.
Last week, we told you about two cases that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit heard oral arguments on. As we discussed, these cases will go a long way towards setting the law on what constitutes a particular social group for purposes of asylum. One of these cases, Martinez, dealt with the issue of whether a former gang member can be granted protection in the U.S.
This week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, the federal appellate court which sets federal law in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and the Carolinas, will hear two cases regarding U.S. asylum law. In Temu v. Holder and Martinez v. Holder, the court will consider the contours of the protected ground of “particular social group.” The decisions in these cases will determine whether asylum law will be more inclusive or whether the law will shut many deserving applicants out of the protection of asylum.
Throughout the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s two-day conference designed to help paralegals provide more effective assistance to their supervising attorneys, faculty reviewed and discussed the paralegal’s role with regard to key legal and factual issues, as well as the preparation of application forms and supporting documentation. As members of the conference faculty, Dree Collopy and Liana Montecinos presented on asylum and removal case preparation, covering the asylum process, removal proceedings before the U.S.
Benach Collopy is very pleased to announce that Rachael Petterson has joined the firm as an associate attorney. We are very excited that Rachael has chosen to join our team and look forward to her contributions on behalf of our clients for many years to come. Rachael has been a FOBR (Friend of Benach Collopy) since our start in April 2012. A graduate of George Washington University Law School, Rachael jumped right into the practice of immigration by assuming the reigns of the GW Immigration Law Clinic while Professor Alberto Benitez was on sabbatical.
In June 2013, Immigration Briefings, a West publication serving lawyers, published Dree Collopy’s article entitled “I-601A Provisional Unlawful Presence: A Practitioner’s Guide for Preserving Family Unity.” (June2013_IB) Intended to help attorneys navigate the new legal landscape of the I-601A provisional waiver, Dree’s article demonstrates Dree’s expertise in hardship waivers and skill in getting the most for her clients. (PS- That’s Dree in the middle, getting an award!)