AILA Presents Eleanor Pelta with the 2015 Susan D. Quarles AILA Service Excellence Award

Advocacy Award

Saturday, June 20, 2015

George Tzamaras
Belle Woods

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD - The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) will award Eleanor Pelta of Washington, DC, with the 2015 Susan D. Quarles AILA Service Excellence Award in recognition of her outstanding service, over a period of years, in advancing the mission, development, and value of AILA for its members and the public it serves. She will receive the award today during AILA's Annual Conference in National Harbor, MD.

Ms. Pelta is no stranger to the AILA awards stage having previously won the Edith Lowenstein Award (2014) and the Joe Minsky Young Lawyer Award (1996). This is indicative of her history of volunteerism - no matter the task, she is ready, willing, and able to help on whatever committee, role, or responsibility required. Whether it be speaking, writing and mentoring; being one of the founders of the AILA Young Lawyers Division (now the New Members Division); serving on and chairing the DOL and USCIS committees; co-authoring an AILA publication on AC-21; being a co-creator of AIC's Immigrant Achievement Awards and a co-creator of AIC's Public Education Center; serving on the task force that evaluated and enabled AILA's move to its G Street headquarters; conceptualizing and serving on AILA's Transparency Committee; serving on AILA's Board of Governors; or seven years as a national officer, Ms. Pelta has stepped forward.

Over the past year, Ms. Pelta chaired the Bylaws Committee, a diverse group of AILA leaders united by one wish - to improve AILA's governance. This committee was charged with reviewing the legal compliance of AILA's bylaws and eventually looking at AILA's incorporation in New York to determine whether the association should reincorporate in another jurisdiction. The committee met aggressive timelines for reporting to the Board of Governors and with Ms. Pelta's leadership, created a plan for the membership to consider. The Bylaws Committee developed necessary updates to AILA's New York bylaws and Articles of Incorporation and then a plan of merger to reincorporate in D.C. with new bylaws designed to conform with today's best governance practices. The committee's work required many hours on conference calls and reviewing and editing documents but their efforts were rewarded when the membership approved the plans by the required 2/3 majority.

Although Ms. Pelta devotes many hours volunteering for AILA she also maintains a "real job" as a partner in the labor and employment law practice of Morgan Lewis & Bockius where she manages the firm's global immigration practice, with practice groups in San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Boston and London. The practice focuses on assisting corporate clients in the management of large-scale global immigration programs, implementation of immigration policies and procedures, as well as assistance with all aspects of immigration compliance. Ms. Pelta was named one of the leading U.S. immigration lawyers by Chambers USA and Chambers Global and is listed in Best Lawyers in America. The Legal Times has named Ms. Pelta one of the "Top 10 Immigration Lawyers in DC." She is also a Board member of New York's Lower East Side Tenement Museum.


The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 15062091.