New Jersey State Bar Association - The voluntary Bar Association of New Jersey, serving members since 1899.

CONTACT:Barbara S. Straczynski
Director of Communications

Shereen Chen Receives NJSBA Annual Pro Bono Award

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ-Shereen Chen, a native of Taipei, Taiwan and attorney with Ballard, Spahr, Andrews & Ingersoll, LLP in Voorhees, received the Pro Bono Award of the New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA) on May 18 at the organization’s annual meeting in Atlantic City. The NJSBA annual Pro Bono Award is presented to an association member who has performed exemplary pro bono services during the preceding year.

Nominated by Dean Waldt, a fellow Pro Bono Committee member, Chen has made a significant impact on the law community. According to Waldt, “Shereen’s assistance and participation in Ballard’s immigration, pro bono success stories, not only for 2005, but also for the past 10 years, shows her commitment to the delivery of quality legal services to the poor and providing equal access to superior legal services that they otherwise would not be able to afford.”

During her time at Ballard Spahr, Chen has averaged more than 100 hours of pro bono time each year to working on immigration law. In addition, Chen also serves as a mentor for other attorneys on asylum and immigration matters.

One of Chen’s most recent cases involved successfully obtaining “extraordinary worker” status for a young woman from Nigeria who is researching the effect of AIDS and HIV issues on children. As a result, this woman is now on her way to becoming a permanent resident of the United States.

Another notable case for Chen involved leading a team that assisted a Chinese girl who fled from an abusive father to the United States. Smuggled into the country by Chinese gangsters known as snakeheads, she was imprisoned by the group and later escaped. Chen and her team successfully obtained special immigrant juvenile status for her. This special status was also won for several young men who were orphaned refugees from Sudan as a result of Chen’s efforts.

In addition to her various pro bono initiatives, Chen has also collaborated with Ballard Spahr to create an immigration pro bono services practice group, which assists several community-based organizations. She also participated on an American Bar Association-sponsored team that inspected an immigration detention center and reported their findings to federal immigration authorities.

As an attorney at Ballard Spahr, Chen concentrates her practice on labor employment and immigration; litigation; and franchise and distribution. Chen received her Bachelor of Arts from Johns Hopkins in 1993. She went on to obtain her J.D. from Rutgers University School of Law in Camden, NJ in 1996.

The NJSBA Pro Bono Committee uses the following criteria for the annual NJSBA Pro Bono Award: (1) the total number of pro bono hours spent or complexity of cases handled by the nominee; (2) the impact of the nominee’s pro bono work and/or benefit for the poor; (3) particular expertise provided or particular need satisfied by the nominee; (4) successful recruitment by the nominee of other attorneys for pro bono representation; or (5) proven commitment by the nominee to the delivery of quality legal services to the poor and providing equal access to legal services.

The New Jersey State Bar Association, incorporated in 1899, is dedicated to the continuing education of lawyers and the public, to reforming and improving the legal system and to aiding in the administration of justice.