AILA Public Statements, Press Releases

AILA Presents Sarah Pitney with the 2023 Joseph Minsky Young Lawyer Award

6/12/23 AILA Doc. No. 23060900.

Monday, June 12, 2023

George Tzamaras
Belle Woods


WASHINGTON, DC - The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) recognizes Sarah Pitney with the 2023 Joseph Minsky Young Lawyer Award for their outstanding contributions made as a young lawyer in the field of immigration and nationality law.


Described by nominators as having made a tremendous impact already in their career, key highlights included “their diversity and inclusion efforts within the immigration bar, their work with numerous AILA committees over the last five years… and their pro bono work with LGBTQ+ and other low-income clients around the country.” Additionally, their ability to teach “in all senses of the word, from pro bono immigration court trainings for the Federal Bar Association and DC Bar Association, to speaking on AILA panels, seminars, and webinars (National, DC Chapter, and online), to teaching immigrants how to self-advocate through presentations at the Philadelphia Trans Wellness Conference and the Transgender Information & Empowerment Summit,” were described as part of an exceptional and transformative career thus far.

Sarah Pitney is a Partner at Benach Collopy LLP, having joined the firm after serving as an immigration attorney for two years in Miami, Florida. They have represented clients in various proceedings on both the detained and non-detained dockets before the Immigration Courts. In addition to their experience in deportation defense, they have also represented clients in family-based petitions, adjustment of status, waivers, asylum, and naturalization cases before United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Since joining Benach Collopy, Mx. Pitney has been pleased to devote special attention to working with LGBTQ+ immigrants in seeking lawful status in the United States. As a non-binary, pansexual person, they feel that serving the LGBTQ+ immigrants in their queer community is one of the most important parts of their practice.

Mx. Pitney is also proud to have traveled to the southern border in 2018 and 2019 to work with the exodus of asylum seekers from Central America. With the support of Benach Collopy, Sarah spent several weeks in Tijuana, Mexico volunteering with Al Otro Lado, where they were able to use legal expertise and Spanish fluency to assist hundreds of asylum seekers through know your rights presentations, individualized legal assessment, and preparation of asylum applications and other documents.

They are admitted to practice in Florida and Washington, D.C., as well as before the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, the District Court for the District of Columbia, and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals and are an active member of the Washington, D.C. chapter of AILA.



Note: This press statement was updated with Sarah Pitney’s new position as Partner on June 16, 2023.

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.