WSGR Honored with Above & Beyond Pro Bono Award by Sanctuary for Families

On November 13, 2018, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati was recognized at Sanctuary for Families' 16th annual Above & Beyond Pro Bono Awards benefit honoring members of the legal profession for their outstanding pro bono representation and advocacy on behalf of the organization's clients, which include survivors of domestic violence, sex trafficking, and related forms of gender violence.

The firm was recognized for its pro bono work in connection with a complicated T-Visa matter in partnership with Sanctuary for Families. The pro bono team, consisting of partner Tonia Klausner, associates Justin Cohen and Jason Mollick, senior paralegal Lee Ann Almeida, and paralegal Melisa Desperak, was recognized for providing assistance to a survivor of sex trafficking who was deceived into coming into the United States from Mexico when she was 18. The pro bono team's outstanding work included securing a T-Visa for the client (which allows her to stay in the U.S.), accompanying the client to her interviews with the U.S. Attorney's Office in New York, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and successfully vacating her multiple sex trafficking-related convictions in New York and New Jersey. Sanctuary for Families also provided extensive counseling and job training to the pro bono client, who can now legally apply for work in the United States. In the coming months, the team will assist the client in applying for permanent residency status.

A quote from Tonia was displayed during the presentation, which said, "'Elizabeth' is one of the strongest, most resilient people I have ever met… We are committed to continue that relationship as she moves towards the T-adjustment application process."

WSGR was one of 11 New York City law firms honored with the 2018 Above & Beyond Award for Excellence in Pro Bono Advocacy. The award recipients supported Sanctuary for Families' Legal Center attorneys in their work representing and advising more than 6,000 domestic violence and trafficking survivors in cases that include orders of protection, child custody and visitation, child and spousal support, divorce, prosecution of batterers, and an array of complex immigration and asylum matters. To view the full list of award recipients, please click here.