This Thanksgiving, Green and Spiegel is thankful for Ayodele Gansallo, a senior staff attorney at HIAS Pennsylvania and this year’s recipient of the fourth annual Pennsylvania Bar Association Immigration Law Pro Bono Award. Ayodele’s accomplishments will be recognized at the reception on Tuesday, November 27th, 4:30 p.m. at the law firm of White and Williams LLP (1650 Market Street, One Liberty Place, Suite 1800, Philadelphia, PA 19103-7395). The Pennsylvania Bar Association Immigration Law Pro Bono Award is sponsored by Green and Spiegel LLC and was created to annually celebrate the pro bono accomplishments of an individual or organization working with the Pennsylvania Bar Association in the area of Immigration Law. The award winner, selected in consultation with PBA leadership, is intended to be given to individuals or organizations that have provided unique service that has resulted in significant provision of legal services to the neediest of foreign nationals on a pro bono basis or as part of a legal aid outreach program.
Jonathon Grode, U.S. Practice Director at Green and Spiegel LLC (well known to thousands of PBA YLD high school mock trial participants as the author for more than the last decade of problems for the competition), shared: “This year’s recipient is especially personal to me. Ayo has been a friend, colleague, and frankly mentor for more than a decade. When the first travel ban was put into motion and my Firm assisted a Syrian family on a pro bono basis, Ayo was the first call I made for extra help at a time when we all needed to band together. It was a Saturday – when most attorneys would not even answer the call. Ayo not only answered, but went right to work. 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.”
Ayodele “Ayo” Gansallo, Esq., is a senior staff attorney at HIAS Pennsylvania, an organization that aims to open doors for new Americans which has been in the news, sadly, for being the target of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooter’s hate. She has devoted her career to representing victims of persecution, abuse, and discrimination seeking asylum in the United States. Ms. Gansallo was selected to receive this year’s award in recognition of her years of tireless service on behalf of some of the most vulnerable members of our population – immigrants and refugees.
Having initially qualified as a Solicitor in England and Wales, Ms. Gansallo is also admitted as an attorney with the New York State Bar. She has been working on Immigration and Human Rights issues exclusively with non-profit organizations, both here and in the U.K., for over twenty five years.
Ms. Gansallo joined the organization in 1998, following completion of her LLM at Temple University’s Beasley School of Law. She now focuses her practice on complex litigation before the Immigration Court, the Board of Immigration Appeals, the 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.
Ted Murphy, Co-Chair of the PBA Imigration Law Committee, shared: “I have known AyodeleGansallo for 20 years. She was a student of mine 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.”
Ms. Gansallo has been an adjunct Lecturer in Law with the University of Pennsylvania Law School’s Transnational Legal Clinic since the 2010 academic year and is the co-author of the publication, Understanding Law and Practice, a textbook and practice guide for paralegal and law students, and newer practitioners on the complexities of immigration law. Ms. Gansallo is Vice-Secretary of the Philadelphia Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers’ Association and sits on the Executive Office for Immigration Review Pro Bono Liaison Committee. She is also a member of the Mayor's Commission on African and Caribbean Immigrant Affairs. Ms. Gansallo is a recipient of the AILA Philadelphia Chapter Matthew Baxter Mentorship Award and co-recipient of the 2017 Pro Bono Champion Award.