Please see below to learn more about pro bono at Sedgwick.
Miami-Dade School Board Honors Ramón Abadin
Miami partner Ramón “Ray” Abadin was honored by the Miami-Dade County Florida School Board in November 2015, through Resolution No. 15-092 and its associated proclamation. The proclamation, endorsed by the school board’s Academics, Evaluation and Technology committees, recognized Abadin for his work as president of the Florida Bar Association in focusing on “technology issues, continuing education and encouraging lawyers to embrace change.” The resolution also acknowledges Abadin’s 27-year law career, including his work at Sedgwick, his Cuban heritage, education, commitment to the South Florida community and “his perseverance, leadership and pursuit of justice.”
Megan Coluccio Invited to Board of Washington Women Lawyers
Sedgwick Seattle attorney Megan Coluccio was invited to join the board of the King County Chapter of Washington Women Lawyers (KCWWL). In her new leadership role, she will be working to recruit and broaden the KCWWL membership base and promote the organization’s women’s lawyer network in the Seattle area. Washington Women Lawyers is Washington State’s largest organization dedicated to furthering the full integration of women in the legal profession and promoting equal rights and opportunities for women through the combined resources of a statewide organization and a network of local chapters.
Rachel Reynolds to Co-Chair New Women’s Commission
The Washington Defense Trial Lawyers (WDTL) recently appointed Seattle partner Rachel Reynolds as co-chair of its new Women’s Commission. Reynolds, who is the chair of the WDTL’s Strategic Planning Committee and the Asbestos/Toxic Tort Practice Group, has been advocating for the establishment of a women’s committee and also a diversity committee within the WDTL. The WDTL is one of the strongest state defense organizations in the country. Its mission is to promote the highest professional and ethical standards for Washington state civil defense attorneys. The WDTL’s Women’s Commission is designed to provide opportunities for members to network and address gender-based challenges in the legal industry.
David Mesa Elected Vice President of NFALA
The National Filipino American Lawyers Association (NFALA) held its first national membership election and Sedgwick San Francisco associate David Mesa was elected to be the organization’s vice president for Programs & Operations. Mesa previously served as NFALA vice president for Communications and also served on NFALA’s Executive Leadership Team. Sedgwick is a founding sponsor of the organization. Mesa also currently serves as a board member for the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA). NFALA is a national association of Filipino-American attorneys, judges, law professors and law students dedicated to promoting the professional development, interests, and success of Filipino-American legal professionals nationwide.
In November 2015, Mesa was also sworn in as a member of the Board of Governors of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA). He will serve the second year of his two-year term as the Alternate Regional Governor for the Northern California region. NAPABA represents more than 50,000 attorney members nationwide through its 75 state and local Asian Pacific American bar association affiliates. An active member of NAPABA, Mesa served as president of the Filipino Bar Association of Northern California (FBANC), an NAPABA affiliate, and is currently FBANC’s judiciary chair and an advisory board member.
Seattle Attorneys Volunteer at Seattle Legal Clinics
Seattle attorneys Rachel Reynolds and Brian Zeringer volunteer for 2 hours every other month at neighborhood legal clinics through the King County Bar Association. These are free legal clinics for anyone in the community to speak with an attorney about any legal issue. Most consultations last between 20-30 minutes. Through this program, they have helped dozens of people resolve a host of legal issues.
Sheryl Rosenberg Assists Holocaust Survivor
Los Angeles partner Sheryl Rosenberg assisted a Holocaust survivor in obtaining a pension from Germany in the amount of $38,000 for his forced labor in a concentration camp. She is now assisting the widow of another Holocaust survivor in obtaining survivor benefits for similar work. Both projects are through Bet Tzedek.
Diana Karnes Elected to Chicago Volunteer Legal Services Board
Chicago attorney Diana Karnes was recently re-elected for a second term as a junior board member of Chicago Volunteer Legal Services (CVLS), an organization aimed at providing free legal services to low-income Chicagoans. The board organizes an annual fundraising event for CVLS.
Sedgwick Co-Sponsors Partners for Women and Justice Benefit
In May 2015, Sedgwick Newark attorneys James Keale, Thomas Robertson, Martin Healy, Lori Chapin, Marina Hoppas and Aurora Parrilla attended the 2015 Partners for Women and Justice Annual Spring Benefit at Mayfair Farms in West Orange, New Jersey. Partners for Women and Justice is a non-profit organization that provides free legal help in domestic violence and family law matters for low-income, abused women in New Jersey. Since 2003, the non-profit has provided free legal assistance to more than 3,000 women in nearly 4,800 matters.
Lisa Michaux Magids Honored by Texas Bar Foundation
In January 2015, the Texas Bar Foundation announced that Sedgwick Austin attorney Lisa Michaux Magids had been elected to membership in the Fellows of the Texas Bar Foundation. Fellows of the Foundation are selected for their outstanding professional achievements and demonstrated commitment to the improvement of the justice system throughout Texas. Election is a mark of distinction and recognition of Magids’ contributions to the legal profession. Nominees must be elected by the Texas Bar Foundation Board of Trustees, which is the largest charitably funded bar foundation in the country. To date, the Texas Bar Foundation has distributed more than $15 million to nonprofit organizations with a wide range of justice-related programs.
Sedgwick Awarded “Law Firm of the Year” by LA HIV Law and Policy Project
In October 2014, the Los Angeles HIV Law and Policy Project (LA HLPP) named Sedgwick as its 2014 “Law Firm of the Year” for the firm’s work on pro bono cases and with LA HLPP’s board of advisors. Sedgwick Los Angeles partner James Holmes accepted the award on behalf of the firm.
Lori Chapin Elected to Second Term as President of Board of Trustees for Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for Children of Essex County
In July 2014, Lori Chapin was elected to a second term as president of the Board of Trustees for Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for Children of Essex County. CASA volunteers serve at the request of the Family Court to advocate for children in foster care due to child abuse and neglect. Essex CASA is the largest program in New Jersey and one of the largest in the nationwide network of 900 CASA chapters. Essex CASA’s Fostering Futures mentoring program, healthcare and educational advocacy and other cutting edge initiatives serve as models for CASA programs statewide and nationally.
Sedgwick DC Handles Pro Bono Immigration Matter
In a pro bono immigration matter, Sedgwick represented a young man, who traveled alone from El Salvador to the United States, in both federal immigration court and the Circuit Court for Montgomery County, Maryland. Our client was apprehended when he attempted to enter the country on foot in Texas, and was subject to removal proceedings. Sedgwick successfully argued for the requisite juvenile court order, obtained Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) from U.S. Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS) and terminated removal proceedings in federal immigration court. The client’s application for Lawful Permanent Resident was granted by USCIS and he received his green card in August 2015. He hopes to complete his high school education and is interested in training to be a police officer or serving in the U.S. military.
Sedgwick Los Angeles Handles Pro Bono Immigration Matter
Sedgwick obtained an order appointing a legal guardian for our client, a minor. Our client fled his home country to live with his teenage brothers in the United States, as he was being abused and neglected by his biological parents in Mexico. The guardian whom we had appointed had previously adopted our client’s three brothers and they are currently reunited. Sedgwick is working to adjust our client’s legal status and has filed paperwork with Immigration for him to become a legal permanent resident.
In Re Appeal of Army-Air Force Veteran
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) granted an appeal on behalf of our client, a female Army and Air Force veteran who served in Iraq. The VA concluded that it had previously erred and, reversing its position, granted our client a 30 percent disability rating for her service-connected migraine headaches. The decision resulted in a payment of approximately $24,000 in retroactive benefits and ongoing monthly benefits.
In the Matter of J.N.B.G
Sedgwick represented a 10-year-old boy in an application for asylum in the United States. His family brought him from El Salvador to the U.S. to escape a gang that was threatening his life as a means of revenge against one of his family members. A unique aspect of this case was that the client did not know about the threats, and thought he was just coming to be with his family. That fact made proving a fear of persecution, as is required for asylum, a challenge. After briefing and attending an interview with the Asylum Office of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the client was granted asylum.
Guardianship/SIJS Findings of Immigration Client
In a pro bono immigration matter, Sedgwick obtained a favorable decision for our client, a 17-year-old girl from Guatemala. The girl fled to the United States because her father had abused and abandoned her. Her mother had been unable to provide for her safety, food and/or education. Members of a local street gang had attempted to rape her and had harassed her to the point that she was afraid they would kill her. Upon arriving in the U.S., she was apprehended by Immigration officials and released into her aunt’s custody with a Notice of Removal pending. Sedgwick successfully argued that the girl qualified as a Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ). The judge awarded the girl’s aunt legal guardianship, declared the girl a dependent of the court and granted a status predicate order allowing the case to move to the United States Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS) phase to apply for SIJ status and, eventually, permanent residency for the girl.
In re Adoption of Client
In a pro bono matter, Sedgwick’s Los Angeles office handled an adoption case in California state court. A nonprofit agency notified Sedgwick about the matter. The child would turn 18 in June 2014, so it was crucial to get the adoption finalized before that date. Sedgwick met with the adopting parents, quickly filed the necessary documents and had the adoption finalized by the end of May 2014.