McDermott Will & Emery Partner, Andrew B. Kratenstein, received the “Above & Beyond Award for Excellence in Pro Bono Advocacy” from the New-York-based nonprofit Sanctuary for Families. The award honors members of the legal community who have gone “above and beyond” by providing outstanding pro bono representation to those victimized by domestic violence, sex trafficking, and related forms of gender violence.
Mr. Kratenstein received this year’s award after achieving an important pro bono victory on behalf of two immigrant children seeking protection from a physically, verbally, and emotionally abusive father.
A Brooklyn Family Court issued a temporary order of protection directing the father to stay away from the mother and the children. The children later moved for the issuance of an order making the specific factual findings necessary for them to obtain Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. The Family Court denied the children’s motion, holding (among other things) that the children had failed to demonstrate that they were dependent on the Family Court.
The children were forced to appeal, and Mr. Kratenstein prepared and submitted an amicus brief on their behalf in the New York State Appellate Division, Second Department. On April 1, 2015, the Appellate Division unanimously reversed the Family Court and, in doing so, held for the first time – as McDermott had argued – that the Family Court’s issuance of an order of protection to the children created dependency on the Family Court. The Court also held that reunification with the children’s father was not viable due to neglect and remanded the case to the Family Court for further factual findings.
The award was presented at the 13th Annual Above & Beyond Pro Bono Achievement Awards & Benefit ceremony on October 19, 2015 at the Highline Ballroom in New York City.
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