Washington, D.C. associate Chris Gloria is the 2021 recipient of Morrison & Foerster’s Kathi Pugh Award for Pro Bono Service.
A seventh-year patent associate, Chris has dedicated nearly a thousand hours to pro bono work in recent years, primarily assisting young immigrants who seek safety in the United States through Special Immigrant Juvenile Status proceedings.
“Chris has been an outstanding contributor to the pro bono program, especially on behalf of youth who entered the U.S. alone and are seeking Special Immigrant Juvenile Status,” said Jennifer Brown, senior pro bono counsel at Morrison & Foerster.
Chris has devoted much of his time to immigration, and is currently listed as the responsible attorney on 10 matters, with his work including asylum and U visa matters in addition to taking on Special Immigrant Juvenile Status cases, which generally take years to come to fruition due to immigration quotas for people from certain countries.
In addition to working with some clients from the beginning to the end of their cases, he has willingly taken over responsibility for a number of other clients after the associates who started the cases left the firm. He has served these clients with great care and has achieved success in obtaining the legal status that enables them to flourish in the United States after beginning their lives in often desperate circumstances.
In one case, Chris worked with Kids in Need of Defense, or KIND, the leading national organization engaging pro bono lawyers to represent unaccompanied minors who are in deportation proceedings. Chris helped a 17-year-old girl from El Salvador who fled to the U.S. after escaping her abusive boyfriend, who was affiliated with a local street gang. With Chris’s help, his client was granted asylum and became able to move forward with her life knowing that she can remain safely in the U.S. The KIND mentor attorney characterized Chris’s work as “above and beyond” in this case, noting that he “produced an excellent brief and supplemental documentation that was ultimately complimented by the Asylum Officer who conducted the interview.”
Chris has also assisted several elderly clients with their wills and related documents, giving them the peace of mind that their affairs would be handled according to their wishes as they neared the end of life, and in response to the COVID-19 crisis, Chris helped with seeking emergency use authorization and patent protection for a cleaning station that uses ultraviolet light to sterilize respirators for use in hospitals and other medical facilities.
“Winning the Kathi Pugh Award is the icing on the cake for me,” Chris said. “Experiencing the victories, big and small, with my immigration clients is reward enough. But the firm’s recognition of my pro bono work is a great symbol of its commitment to pro bono and an expression of the value that it places on its associates’ pro bono work.”
The winner of the Kathi Pugh Award directs $10,000 in contributions to legal services agencies, jointly funded by Morrison & Foerster and The Morrison & Foerster Foundation. Chris has asked that his donation go to Kids in Need of Defense, the organization that Chris worked with in helping his Salvadoran client on her path to asylum.
This is the eighth annual Kathi Pugh Award. New York of counsel Tushna Gamadia, London associate Mercedes Samavi, New York associate Adam Hunt, San Diego associate Christian Andreu-von Euw, San Francisco senior counsel Ruth Borenstein, Washington, D.C. partner Natalie Fleming Nolen, and San Francisco partner Alfredo Silva were the firm’s prior honorees.
The Kathi Pugh Award was established by Morrison & Foerster in 2013, when Kathi Pugh retired after two decades of running the firm’s pro bono program. It recognizes the values, enthusiasm, and compassion that Kathi brought to the pro bono program, and celebrates the remarkable ways that lawyers like Chris Gloria proudly carry out Kathi’s pro bono legacy.