Archive | September, 2013

Welcome Rachael Petterson

16 Sep

Benach Ragland is very pleased to announce that Rachael Petterson has joined the firm as an associate attorney.  We are very excited that Rachael has chosen to join our team and look forward to her contributions on behalf of our clients for many years to come.


Rachael has been a FOBR (Friend of Benach Ragland) since our start in April 2012.  A graduate of George Washington University Law School, Rachael jumped right into the practice of immigration by assuming the reigns of the GW Immigration Law Clinic while Professor Alberto Benitez was on sabbatical.  Rachael supervised the work of twelve student-attorneys who provided pro bono legal services to the immigrant community in the DC area.  In a remarkable year, Rachael served as a student in the clinic, graduated from law school and moved right into supervising the clinic.  During that time, the clinic scored a number of impressive courtroom victories and its alumni have gone on to meaningful careers in immigration.  The attached photo shows Rachael with Professor Benitez, a happy client and student attorney and FOBR Jose Pitti after one of their victories.  (See if you can guess who is who!). Andres Benach is also a graduate of George Washington Law School and a former member of the Immigration Clinic.

Rachael left academia to engage in private practice.  She worked with Ivan Yacub, a terrific litigator based out of Virginia.  Ivan is a well-known advocate who is always pushing the legal envelope for his clients.  Rachael undoubtedly learned a lot by Ivan’s side.

Before law school, Rachael was a Peace Corps volunteer in Guatemala.  In Guatemala, Rachael helped individuals who suffered human rights abuses to assert their rights under laws enacted at the end of the civil war that consumed Guatemala in the late 20th Century.  The greater DC area is home to a large Guatemalan population that fled that same barbarous war.

A native of Texas, BR is principally concerned whether Rachael can make some excellent Texas barbecue and whether she can dance a proper two-step.

Rachael will move right in to handling our growing caseload of immigration litigation, provisional waivers, complex criminal immigration matters, motions practice, and asylum and refugee protection.  We look forward to introducing her to all of our clients and friends.

Immigration Briefing Publishes Dree Collopy’s Article on I-601A Provisional Waivers

13 Sep


In June 2013, Immigration Briefings, a West publication serving lawyers, published Dree Collopy’s article entitled “I-601A Provisional Unlawful  Presence: A Practitioner’s Guide for Preserving Family Unity.” (June2013_IB)  Intended to help attorneys navigate the new legal landscape of the I-601A provisional waiver, Dree’s article demonstrates Dree’s expertise in hardship waivers and skill in getting the most for her clients.  (PS- That’s Dree in the middle, getting an award!)

The article identifies the problems that the I-601A provisional waiver was meant to solve and the practical step lawyers should follow to ensure that they prepare a proper application.  Moreover, Dree provides a detailed discussion of the nature of “extreme hardship” and provides suggestions to show how applicants can meet their burden of establishing extreme hardship.

The complexities of the new I-601 provisional waiver process and the subjectivity of the extreme hardship standard are challenging issues for even the most seasoned practitioners.  Dree’s briefing gives lawyers the practical knowledge they need to serve their clients.

Congratulations on a great article Dree!