HARRISBURG (Dec. 4, 2019) — Philadelphia lawyer Wendy Castor Hess will be honored with the fifth annual Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA) Immigration Law Pro Bono Award today at 6 p.m. at a reception at Chestnut Hill College’s Commonwealth Chateau at SugarLoaf in Chestnut Hill.
The PBA 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 those 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.
A partner at Landau, Hess, Simon & Choi in Philadelphia, Hess is the current and founding co-chair of the PBA Immigration Law Committee. She is the PBA Pro Bono Office’s primary contact when individuals need assistance on immigration matters, including young people impacted by the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act. Hess also develops and presents programs that help other attorneys handle pro bono immigration work.
“I am proud to be of Wendy’s ‘coaching tree,’” said Jonathan Grode, a partner at Green and Spiegel who will be presenting the award. “She provided me some of the most important legal values that I carry with me every day as an attorney. Wendy has always been willing to give of herself and her time to worthy nonprofit immigration-related activities. When there is a case worth fighting for, Wendy always provides a solution-first oriented approach, regardless of the foreign national’s financial wherewithal.”
In addition to the pro bono and public interest work for which she is being honored, Hess has been practicing immigration and nationality law for over 35 years. She represents individuals and businesses in all facets of immigration matters, including I-9-related compliance issues and employment-based nonimmigrant and immigrant visas, particularly in the medical, pharmaceutical, IT and university communities. Fluent in Spanish, she also represents individuals in family-based cases and serves as counsel to the Mexican Consulate in Philadelphia.
Hess has served as a member of the Board of Governors of the Philadelphia Bar Association, as chair of the Philadelphia Bar Association Immigration Committee and as a board member of HIAS Pennsylvania. She previously served as president of HIAS, as chair of the Philadelphia Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and as a member of AILA’s national U.S. Department of Labor Liaison and Vermont Service Center Liaison committees.
Along with Grode, the award will be presented by David Trevaskis, PBA pro bono coordinator. Green and Spiegel has made a donation in honor of Hess’ award to the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation, the charitable affiliate of the PBA, to benefit the PBA Pro Bono Office.
In 2020, the PBA Immigration Law Committee will be working with Chestnut Hill College, in collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University, to hold a deliberative democracy discussion on the issue of immigration in America. Chestnut Hill College's Center for Education, Advocacy & Social Justice has made immigration a special focus with the addition of a course on immigration and advocacy this fall.
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.