AILA Posthumously Recognizes Matthew Baxter with the 2012 Sam Williamson Mentor Award

Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 12061449 (posted Jun. 14, 2012)"

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, June 14, 2012
George Tzamaras or Belle Woods
202-507-7649 - 202-507-7675
gtzamaras@aila.org - bwoods@aila.org

NASHVILLE, TN - The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) will posthumously recognize Matthew Baxter with the 2012 Sam Williamson Mentor Award to acknowledge his extraordinary mentoring, generosity and earnest desire to help other immigration attorneys. The award will be presented today during AILA's Annual Conference in Nashville, TN.

A graduate of Cornell University with a degree in Russian language, Mr. Baxter attended Boston University School of Law. He spent his first dozen years of practice as a commercial litigator in Boston. When he relocated to Philadelphia to be with his then girlfriend, later wife, he decided to re-invent himself - drawing on his Russian language skills to serve the Russian immigrant population in Philadelphia.

After trying his hand at general practice, he was asked to take on his first immigration case and he was immediately "hooked." Immigration combined his love for helping real people, his love of language and his love of cultural and political diversity.

Mr. Baxter was described as a treasure of the Philadelphia AILA Chapter. He took on many roles for the Chapter, serving as a Chapter Officer and Chapter Chair, committee chair, mentor, speaker and friend. He was always willing to teach his fellow members, whether at a Continuing Legal Education (CLE) session, on a phone call, or in the hallway outside immigration court. He was deeply involved with education, advocacy and practice support.

Mr. Baxter was described as a treasure of the Philadelphia AILA Chapter. He took on many roles for the Chapter, serving as a Chapter Officer and Chapter Chair, committee chair, mentor, speaker and friend. He was always willing to teach his fellow members, whether at a Continuing Legal Education (CLE) session, on a phone call, or in the hallway outside immigration court. He was deeply involved with education, advocacy and practice support.

He was generous with his time not only to AILA, but also as a volunteer for the Philadelphia Bar Association's Volunteers for the Indigent Program and the Philadelphia chapter of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, on whose board he served for over 15 years. Mr. Baxter's caring for his clients extended beyond their legal representation. His generosity was evident when he represented an ill homeless Ukrainian man, for whom he secured deferred action, and worked to find housing for him. Through his volunteerism, he was able to multiply his generosity a thousand fold.

Mr. Baxter battled a serious illness for quite some time and was very sick the last nine months of his life. Undaunted, he still managed to help his clients and other AILA members, even from his hospital bed. On September 15, 2011, he passed away just short of his 54th birthday. He will be greatly missed by his family and fellow AILA members.

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