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AILA Announces Second Quarter of 2014’s Pro Bono Heroes Honorees

AILA is pleased to announce the recipients of the "Pro Bono Heroes" second quarterly awards for 2014. In this quarter, the AILA National Pro Bono Services Committee sought to recognize individual AILA members who were nominated for their laudable efforts, and therefore deserve to be highlighted. These Hero honorees are committed, passionate members of the immigration law community who are engaged in providing access to justice to lesser-served members of the immigrant population. These AILA members are considered role models by virtue of their proven generosity with their time and resources, as well being humanitarian-minded attorneys who are actively promoting the elevated professional values which pro bono work entails. After considering all of the nominees, we are glad to recognize the following AILA Pro Bono Heroes:

Northeast (CT, New England, NJ, NY, Ohio, and PA):

Harvey Kaplan, of Kaplan, Friedman & Associates, LLP, has practiced in Boston since 1974. Throughout his career, Mr. Kaplan has devoted himself to both private and pro bono clients as well as serving as mentor and teacher to innumerable students and attorneys. Mr. Kaplan's outstanding contribution to immigration practice has been recognized with many prestigious awards: AILA's first Mentor Award (1992); AILA's Elmer Fried Award of Excellence in teaching immigration law (together with Maureen O'Sullivan in 2002); as well as recognition by the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers' Guild for excellence in the practice of immigration law (Third Annual Carol King Award and the Daniel Levy Award in 2007, shared with Maureen O'Sullivan and Jeremiah Friedman). Kaplan has litigated cases and written countless amicus briefs for pro bono clients in federal district courts and in the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. In addition to all of these accomplishments, Mr. Kaplan has taught an immigration course at Harvard Law School and has served as an adjunct professor at Northeastern University School of Law for over 25 years. Harvey Kaplan's long-standing dedication to the immigrant population, his commitment to teaching and mentoring generations of students and attorneys, and his enduring passion for pro bono work represent the defining characteristics of the Pro Bono Hero award.

Southeast (Carolinas, Florida, Georgia-Alabama, Mid-South, D.C. and Puerto Rico):

Brittany Thomas practices with Grant Konvalinka & Harrison, P.C. in Chattanooga, Tennessee. In addition to regularly taking pro bono and low bono cases, Brittany organized and ran the Chattanooga Alternative Spring Break Project with the University of Tennessee College of Law in March 2014, in which law student volunteers helped Legal Aid of East Tennessee assist indigent persons with their applications for citizenship. She also gives free consultations for local nonprofits and mentors other attorneys who are doing immigration-related pro bono work. In 2013, Brittany lent her enthusiastic participation to the AILA National "Voices of Pro Bono" video project in an effort to encourage AILA members to take the Pro Bono Pledge. Her passion for pro bono goes back to her law school days, when she received the Law Student Volunteer Award from the Tennessee Bar Association in acknowledgement of her praiseworthy commitment to pro bono. AILA is proud to recognize Brittany as a true Pro Bono Hero.

Central Central (Canada, Chicago, Indiana, Iowa/Nebraska, Mexico City, Michigan, Minnesota/Dakotas, Missouri/Kansas, Texas, Wisconsin, Bangkok District & Rome District Chapters):

Davorin "Dav" Odrcic is a Milwaukee based attorney. He is a pro bono hero for his tireless work helping Milwaukee's Sikh community. He was instrumental in securing representation for victims of the Sikh Temple massacre in August of 2012. Dav spent countless hours meeting with Temple officials and members, recruiting AILA members and coordinating attorneys and the government to assist members with their immigration issues. Some relatives of victims received expedited B-2 visas. Other victims were eligible for U Visas. Dav organized the assistance and took on several pro bono cases himself. As the B-2 stays were expiring, Dav helped coordinate with USCIS to obtain extensions. In addition to his work for the Sikh community, Dav continually presents on immigration law to community groups. We congratulate Dav on his exemplary pro bono efforts, and are glad to honor him as an AILA Pro Bono Hero.

West (Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, Northern California, San Diego, Santa Clara, Southern California, Oregon, Utah, Washington):

Gloria A. Goldman is a long-time active AILA member who has practiced immigration and nationality law in Tucson, Arizona since 1991. Gloria's son, Mo Goldman, jokes that Gloria does so much pro bono work he often has to remind her that she is not working for a non-profit. Gloria takes on pro bono Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, asylum, VAWA, and U visa cases for clients that contact her office directly as well as accepting cases from Tucson-area non-profits, including Southern Arizona legal Aid. Gloria has been the recipient of numerous pro bono service awards for her dedication to those most in need, including the American Immigration Lawyers Association Pro Bono Award, 1996; the Meritorious Service Award, Department of Justice, 1998; and the Making a Difference for Women Award: Women of Distinction Award, Soroptomist International of Desert Tucson, 2001. Gloria has also been active on several commissions involving domestic violence and unaccompanied minors. People's lives have been changed for the better thanks to her work, and Gloria richly deserves the title of AILA Pro Bono Hero.

We applaud all those who were nominated for their extraordinary pro bono efforts, and especially congratulate our honorees for the second quarter of 2014's AILA Pro Bono Heroes!

The next nomination cycle will open on July 1st 2014! Please visit www.aila.org/probonoheroes for program updates and information on past honorees.

Through the Pro Bono Heroes awards AILA recognizes individuals and organizations from across the country that embody the pro bono spirit, through promoting and contributing to pro bono work, taking on complex pro bono cases or handling a significant number of pro bono cases or pro bono hours. Different categories of service are honored in different quarters of the year.

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 14061601.