Philadelphia-based Attorney Ayodele Gansallo to Be Honored with PBA Immigration Law Pro Bono Award

HARRISBURG (Nov. 26, 2018) — Ayodele Gansallo, a senior staff attorney at HIAS Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, was selected for the fourth annual Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA) Immigration Law Pro Bono Award. She will be presented with the award on Nov. 27 at a reception at White and Williams LLP’s Philadelphia office. Gansallo’s employer, HIAS Pennsylvania, will also be honored at the program.

The Immigration Law Pro Bono Award, which is sponsored by the business immigration law firm of Green and Spiegel LLC and coordinated by the PBA Immigration Law Committee, was created to annually recognize the pro bono accomplishments of an individual or organization working with the PBA in the area of immigration law. The award is given to individuals or organizations that have provided a unique service resulting in a significant provision of legal services to the neediest of foreign nationals on a pro bono basis or as part of legal aid outreach. The winners are selected in consultation with PBA leadership.

Gansallo is being recognized for her years of tireless service on behalf of some of the most vulnerable members of our population — immigrants and refugees. She has devoted her career to representing victims of persecution, abuse and discrimination seeking asylum in the United States.

“This year’s recipient is especially personal to me. Ayo has been a friend, colleague and a mentor for more than a decade,” said Jonathan Grode, a partner at Green and Spiegel LLC who will be presenting the award. “She is a tireless supporter of the immigrant community and a champion to those who need her help the most. The immigrant community in Philadelphia and the country is far better off with Ayo’s advocacy.”

PBA Immigration Law Committee Co-chair Theodore J. Murphy was Gansallo’s professor at Temple Law School in 1998. “Since that time, I have had the opportunity to witness her work in court and her tireless drive to champion the cause of human rights, both as a solicitor in England and as an attorney in the United States.  From the professor’s chair in the classroom, to the quiet halls of justice, to the front of demonstrations – that is where you will find Ayo — always defending due process and freedom. Ayo Gansallo truly has the Heart of a Lion.”

In 1988, Gansallo joined HIAS Pennsylvania, an organization that provides legal and supportive services to immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers from all backgrounds, focusing her practice on complex litigation before the U.S. Immigration Court, the Board of Immigration Appeals, Federal District Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. In addition, she provides mentorship and training on immigration issues to pro bono attorneys and community groups. Gansallo is also admitted to practice law in New York and is qualified as a solicitor in England and Wales. She has been working on immigration and nationality issues exclusively with nonprofit organizations, both here and in the U.K., for more than 20 years.

Gansallo is an adjunct professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School’s Transnational Legal Clinic. She is the co-author of the publication, Understanding Immigration Law and Practice, a textbook and practice guide for paralegals, law students and newer practitioners on the complexities of immigration law. She is a frequent presenter at continuing legal education courses held by the Pennsylvania Bar Institute and the American Immigration Lawyers' Association (AILA). 

Gansallo serves as secretary of the Philadelphia Chapter of AILA. She is also a member of the Mayor's Commission on African and Caribbean Immigrant Affairs. Gansallo has received numerous awards in recognition of her immigration work, including the AILA Philadelphia Chapter Matthew Baxter Mentorship Award, the AILA Philadelphia Chapter 2017 Pro Bono Champion Award in which she was a co-recipient, the SEAMAAC's Unsung Heroine Award for 2017, the 2017 Philadelphia Bar Foundation Award and Global Women P.E.A.C.E. Foundation 2018 Legal Award where she was a first place recipient.

Gansallo received an LL.B. from the University of Leicester in 1988 and an LL.M. from Temple University in 1998.

Green and Spiegel has made a donation of $1,500 in Gansallo’s honor to the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation, the charitable affiliate of the PBA, to benefit the PBA Pro Bono Office.

Founded in 1895, the Pennsylvania Bar Association strives to promote justice, professional excellence and respect for the law; improve public understanding of the legal system; facilitate access of legal services; and serve the lawyer members of the state’s largest organized bar association.