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Press Release

KIND Honors Meredith K. Stewart and Debbie Panameno for Volunteering Services to Refugee and Immigrant Children

BOSTON, MA (November 3, 2020) Jackson Lewis P.C., one of the country’s preeminent workplace law firms, is pleased to announce that Principal Meredith K. Stewart and Paralegal Debbie Panameno have been honored by Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) for providing vital legal services to refugee and immigrant children. KIND is the leading national organization advocating for the rights of unaccompanied migrant and refugee children in the U.S. Meredith and Debbie were recognized as volunteers who go above and beyond to help these children make their case for U.S. protection.

“I would have to say that one of the absolute standout moments of my time working as a pro bono attorney with KIND would be attending the high school graduation of a Haitian boy who I helped to obtain U.S. Lawful Permanent Residence and then seeing him go on to college,” said Meredith. “He had been homeless, together with an older sister and younger brother, but saw the importance of getting an education. His incredible determination is something that I will never forget.”

Meredith is a Principal in the Boston office of Jackson Lewis. Her practice is dedicated exclusively to U.S. immigration and nationality law. She has extensive experience advising and representing employers of all sizes and their foreign national employees in a variety of U.S. immigration matters. Meredith focuses her practice on primarily employment-based nonimmigrant visas and U.S. lawful permanent residence petitions in both private industry and in academia. She has worked on filings for a range of nonimmigrant visas from E-1/2 to R-1 visas, including E-1/2, F-1,  H-1B, J-1, L-1A/L-1B, O-1, P-2/3, Q-1, and R-1, as well as Applications for Permanent Employment Certification before the U.S. Department of Labor and first preference petitions based on extraordinary ability, outstanding research, and multinational executive/managerial role in the U.S. lawful permanent residence context. Meredith earned her J.D. from the University of Miami School of Law and her B.A. from Smith College. 

Meredith has demonstrated a tremendous commitment to KIND since the organization opened its Boston office. She has represented 13 KIND clients since 2009 and consistently takes a new KIND case every time she obtains relief for one of her clients. In addition to the time and energy spent on her cases, Meredith helped to organize a coat drive at Jackson Lewis, which kept many of their clients warm last winter. In recent years, Meredith has partnered with paralegal Debbie Panameno on KIND cases. Debbie has played an invaluable role in these cases. She is incredibly diligent, caring, and always eager to help her KIND clients.

“A standout moment for me was during a status hearing that Meredith and I went to with our KIND client at the immigration court in Boston,” said Debbie. “The client had finally been released from a detention center to the custody of his relative and it was the first time he was attending a hearing at the Boston immigration court. After being called up by the judge and a brief chat regarding his school enrollment and family life, the client sat back down next to me with the greatest sigh of relief. He whispered in Spanish that the judge was very nice and a huge difference from the immigration judges in the state where his case was previously helped. It made me realize that this whole process is very stressful for a kid and a positive attitude makes all the difference.”

“We congratulate Meredith and Debbie on this well-deserved recognition,” said Michael H. Neifach and Amy L. Peck, Leaders of the firm’s Immigration Practice Group, in a joint statement. “Both are passionate about serving their communities and helping unaccompanied children in their journey to safety. Meredith and Debbie’s commitment to KIND demonstrates their integrity and fine leadership skills, and we are proud to see them honored for providing legal assistance to those most vulnerable in our society.”

For more information on Jackson Lewis’ commitment to pro bono and community service, please click here.

About Jackson Lewis 
Focused on labor and employment law since 1958, Jackson Lewis P.C.’s 950+ attorneys located in major cities nationwide consistently identify and respond to new ways workplace law intersects business. We help employers develop proactive strategies, strong policies and business-oriented solutions to cultivate high-functioning workforces that are engaged, stable and diverse, and share our clients' goals to emphasize inclusivity and respect for the contribution of every employee. 
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