Casa Cornelia's Inn of Court recently named two Thomas Jefferson School of Law alumni, Travis M. Sills ’04 and Regis Worley ’04, as recipients of the Pro Bono Publico Award.
Casa Cornelia Law Center is a nonprofit public interest law firm in San Diego that provides quality pro bono legal services to victims of human and civil rights violations, with a primary focus on serving the indigent within the immigrant community in Southern California. Casa Cornelia’s three main areas of representation are asylum, unaccompanied minors, and victims of domestic violence.
“I was fortunate to work with all three aspects of Casa Cornelia’s representation programs over the span of six months as an in-house volunteer attorney,” Sills says. “My experience there opened my eyes and heart to how I could use my law degree to positively impact people’s lives.”
The Casa Cornelia Inn of Court Pro Bono Publico Award is given to those who provide much needed legal representation to indigent immigrants as they enter removal proceedings and affirmatively apply for other immigration relief.
Worley said, “Although honored by this award, I am humbled by the hard work of the people at Casa Cornelia and their supporting volunteers who are dedicating their lives to help victims of human rights abuses.”
Sills agrees and says this experience was humbling for him as well. “I went to law school with a hope of what a J.D. can do for my life and left Casa with the knowledge of what my J.D. can do for so many other lives,” says Sills. “I have practiced in several areas of law, and I have yet to experience anything as rewarding. I am incredibly grateful to Casa Cornelia for my invaluable experience and humbled by their recognition with the Pro Bono Publico award.”
Although not a spokesperson for Casa Cornelia, Worley says he recommends this rewarding experience to all. “I would urge any attorney or law student who reads this article to contact Casa Cornelia and assist in one of their cases,” he said. “Working with clients has been a highlight of my career and an experience that I will cherish forever.”
The gala award reception took place on Thursday, October 21, at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice at USD. Travis says he was honored to be there and even more honored to be an award recipient.
“This work changes how you view the benefit that your J.D. and law license confer,” Travis explains. “They become the tools to practice social justice and the means to be the change you want to see. That’s powerful.”
Also at the Casa Cornelia Law Center’s Annual Awards Reception, third-year TJSL student Romina Otoya received the prestigious 2010 La Mancha Award for outstanding pro bono services on behalf of the immigrant community. In 2005, Casa Cornelia began a clinical program with San Diego’s law schools and, with the consent of the immigration court, Casa Cornelia trains these law students to directly represent indigent asylum seekers under the supervision of a staff attorney.
In addition to Worley and Sills, several other TJSL alumni also volunteer with Casa Cornelia, including Scott Cramer ‘88, Katherine Paculba ‘08, Ruth Spillane ‘08, Nichole Richard ‘08, and Carol Carvajal ‘04.