Awards & Recognition

Weil Lawyers Honored by Sanctuary for Families

— Sanctuary for Families
Nelly Almeida, Ginger Ellison, Dana Kaufman, and supervising partner Jackie Cohen were honored for their outstanding pro bono work at an awards ceremony held by Sanctuary for Families on October 28 in New York. The awards recognize lawyers who go “above and beyond” to help victims of domestic violence, sex trafficking, and related forms of gender violence.

Sanctuary for Families named the Weil attorneys 2014 Above & Beyond Honorees for Excellence in Pro Bono Advocacy for their representation and advocacy on behalf of “P,” a college student who was born in Mexico and who has lived in New York City since she was 3 years old.

As a child, P repeatedly witnessed her biological father physically and verbally abusing her mother. P has lived with her mother, stepfather, and sister for most of her life, with very limited involvement from her biological father.

The Weil pro bono team helped P apply for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS), a type of immigration relief that is available to children under the age of 21 who have been declared dependent by a juvenile court due to abuse, abandonment, or neglect by a parent.

With the team’s assistance, P’s stepfather won guardianship of her as well as an order from the New York State Family Court finding that P meets the requirements for SIJS. The Weil team has since petitioned the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services for SIJS and secured a work permit on her behalf in September.  

Weil will represent P at her interview for permanent residency in December, so that she will be able to qualify for health insurance, receive federal student aid for college, and live permanently in the U.S without fear of being removed to Mexico.