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Alyssa Saunders and Kristen Strain honored for pro bono legal service at Tahirih’s 17th Annual Gala

WASHINGTON — Tahirih honored its Pro Bono Attorneys of the Year on April 9 at its 17th Annual Gala, “Saving Lives, Celebrating Courage.”

The Pro Bono Attorney of the Year Award is presented annually to attorneys who provide outstanding pro bono legal service to Tahirih’s clients, courageous immigrant women and girls who refuse to be victims of violence.

Tahirih is able to serve hundreds of immigrant women and girls fleeing violence every year because of the generosity and expertise of its robust network of more than 1,200 pro bono attorneys and firms.

Alyssa Saunders, a litigation associate at Cooley LLP, was named the Washington, D.C. Area Pro Bono Attorney of the Year. Saunders provided excellent pro bono representation to her first Tahirih client whose gender-based asylum case was especially complex. A diligent advocate, Saunders generated significant interest within her firm in Tahirhi’s pro bono program and helped Tahirih raise critical funds in support of its work.

“Her commitment to justice on behalf of immigrant women and girls is a source of inspiration,” said Debra Winger, an actress and Tahirih board member who presented Saunders with her award at Wednesday’s gala.

Kristen Strain, an associate at Venable LLP, was named the Maryland Pro Bono Attorney of the Year. Strain is a passionate advocate for Tahirih’s Baltimore clients. She has successfully taken on challenging asylum cases and has dedicated substantial time and resources to ensure that Tahirih’s clients receive the best possible representation. A strong Tahirih supporter, Strain has also helped host multiple events on Tahirih’s behalf.

“She is an outstanding pro bono attorney who has demonstrated excellence and unwavering commitment to protecting immigrant women and girls, many of whom are in the most vulnerable of situations, to achieve lives of dignity and free from violence,” Winger said.