Insights & News

Stradley Ronon Trio Secures Visa for Abused, Unaccompanied, Immigrant Child in Pro Bono Matter

June 05, 2023
Firm News

PHILADELPHIA – Stradley Ronon is pleased to announce a recent immigration pro bono victory led by Stradley Ronon lawyers Michelle H. Badolato, Lara N. Burke and Andrea M. Smith.

When Burke joined Stradley Ronon in 2022, she brought the case with her to the firm, building upon the firm’s long-standing tradition of voluntary pro bono work. U.S. immigration policy is very complex, and this was an extremely difficult case involving an unmarried client under the age of 21 who entered the U.S. as an unaccompanied minor and is a victim of abuse and neglect.

The immigrant child client’s Special Immigrant Juvenile Status petition was approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This visa will allow their client to apply for a green card and ultimately obtain lawful permanent residency in the U.S.

Smith took the lead in drafting the substantive filings, with input from Burke. Badolato supervised the matter and was the lead Maryland attorney, sponsoring Burke’s and Smith’s applications to appear in the matter pro hac vice. Smith argued the Motion for Special Findings and examined two witnesses before the Circuit Court for Prince George’s County, Maryland. She conducted the witness examination with professionalism and empathy, particularly given the heavy subject matter, and was quick on her feet to answer the judge’s tough questions. Ultimately, the Circuit Court judge issued the necessary predicate order to support the client’s Special Immigrant Juvenile Status petition. Shortly thereafter, Smith drafted and submitted the petition to USCIS.

Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) helped the Stradley Ronon team around the particulars of immigration law since it is an area that is frequently changing and provided mentorship throughout the process. Burke also serves on KIND’s DC Advisory Committee.

The group is also handling six more pro bono cases involving children. The firm's pro bono program is overseen by Michael J. Engle and Ashley Shapiro, who serve as co-chairs of the committee. The pro bono committee works to develop, identify and approve projects for firm representation. Because of the commitment of our management committee and support from the firm’s leaders, Stradley Ronon offers every attorney the opportunity to receive up to 50 hours of billable time credit for work performed on pro bono matters.

About Stradley Ronon
>Counseling clients since 1926, Stradley Ronon has helped private and public companies – from small businesses to Fortune 500 corporations – achieve their goals by providing pragmatic, value-driven legal counsel. With offices in eight strategic locations, the firm’s  responsive team of more than 200 attorneys seamlessly addresses the full spectrum of our clients’ needs, ranging from sophisticated corporate transactions to complex commercial litigation.

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