Press Release

Ballard Spahr Team Wins 'Pro Bono Star' Award for Work on Asylum Case

June 20, 2024

A team from Ballard Spahr has received the Pro Bono Star Award from global human rights organization Human Rights First “in recognition of their teamwork and extraordinary commitment to representing and protecting asylum seekers.”

Ballard Spahr lawyers Jessica C. Watt, William Alden McDaniel, Jr., Edmund Nyarko, and Colin P. Kane, along with pro bono coordinator Mayra Troendle, will be honored at a Human Rights First (HRF) event today—World Refugee Day—in Washington, D.C.

“Winners of the Pro Bono Star Award are legal professionals in our Pro Bono program who have shown extraordinary commitment to representing and protecting asylum seekers,” HRF said in a statement. “We are proud to work with such a powerful network of hard-working, dedicated legal professionals committed to human rights.”

The Ballard Spahr team obtained asylum for a client in March 2024 after nearly six years representing her after she fled Honduras following years of abuse, rape, and imminent threat of death at the hands of her former partner. By the time our client took the stand in an asylum hearing, the team had convinced the government that she had a grantable case, and the government did not object.

In addition to that case, in 2024 alone, Ballard Spahr teams have successfully obtained asylum grants for seven clients from countries including Afghanistan, El Salvador, and Venezuela. Through the firm’s acclaimed pro bono program, Ballard Spahr lawyers contribute more than 50,000 hours annually to pro bono service, ensuring that clients have a voice and a legal advocate regardless of their ability to pay.

The firm’s lawyers and professionals partner with agencies throughout the country to provide free legal services to meet the most pressing needs of our communities. They advocate for fundamental human rights in cases involving the death penalty, voting rights, asylum and immigration, and child advocacy; help veterans and first-responders with estate planning through Wills for Heroes; staff legal clinics for unhoused people; assist artists in protecting their intellectual property; advise entrepreneurs on building successful businesses; and represent low-income individuals and families in a full spectrum of matters.

For media inquiries, please contact Bill Shralow at 215.864.8195.

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