VECINA’s nationally recognized expert mentors work with pro bono attorneys to provide them with the guidance they need to zealously represent their clients. Learn more about our attorney mentorship program.
Ava BenachBenach Collopy, LLPacbenach@benachcollopy.com(202) 644-8600
Ava Benach is a founding partner of Benach Collopy. Ava has represented clients in immigration courts across the country, addressing cutting edge issues in asylum, the immigration consequences of criminal convictions, jurisdiction and due process, and eligibility for relief. Ava has taken a lead role in representing transgender asylum seekers before the asylum office and the immigration courts. She has pioneered an innovative collaboration with Whitman Walker Health to provide quality representation to transgender immigrants while training the next generation of lawyers in representing LGBT immigrants.
In May 2017, Whitman Walker Health honored Ava with the Fenner Award for Community Service for her work representing Whitman Walker clients. She is a member of the Board of Directors for the Capital Area Immigrant Rights Coalition, where she works to protect the rights of immigrants in the detention system. In June 2017, Ava was awarded the Edith B. Lowenstein Award for Excellence in Advancing the Practice of Immigration Law by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).
Cori HashLincoln-Goldfinch Lawcori@lincolngoldfinch.com(512) 599-8500
Cori Has has nearly 15 years of experience in complex immigration matters such as asylum, removal defense, and complicated humanitarian cases. Before joining Lincoln-Goldfinch Law, Cori served as the Managing Attorney of Human Rights First’s Washington, D.C. office, where she trained and mentored hundreds of volunteer attorneys. Cori currently serves as a member of the American Immigration lawyers Association’s Pro Bono and Distance Learning committees.
Taylor LevyTaylor Levy Lawtaylorlevylaw@gmail.com(321) 998-9993
Taylor Levy is an immigration attorney in El Paso, Texas. She previously served as the legal Coordinator at Annunciation House, a migrant and refugee house of hospitality located on the U.S.-Mexico border. During the summer and fall of 2018, Taylor worked with dozens of pro bono attorneys providing free legal representation to immigrant parents separated from their minor children.
Currently, Ms. Levy focuses her work on asylum-seeking families who have been returned to Mexico under the “Remain in Mexico” program, formally known as the “Migrant Protection Protocols” and referred to as MPP. Taylor wrote an MPP practice advisory that is relied upon by attorneys throughout the country.
Virginia Raymondviriginiaraymond@icloud.com(512) 472-6270
Virginia Marie Raymond earned her A.B. in Psychology from Bryn Mawr College, and her J.D., M.A., and Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. Virginia began volunteering with Proyecto Libertad in Harlingen, Texas, as a law student and then in 1987 spent several months there as a
volunteer lawyer. Returning to Austin, she gathered friends who together founded the Political Asylum Project of Austin/Proyecto de Asilo Político de Austin (PAPA), where Virginia remained a volunteer and board member until 2000. PAPA later morphed into American Gateways. Meanwhile, Virginia was raising three kids with Tom Kolker while immersing herself in Mexican American literature, history, and anthropology.
Between 2007 and 2011, she directed the Texas After Violence Project, an independent oral history project on the death penalty. Returning to immigration law in 2012, she has directed most of her energy towards removal defense of people incarcerated in, or alumnx of, Karnes, T. Don Hutto, Joe Corley, Pearsall, Robstown, and the three adult immigration prisons in Laredo.
Kate Lincoln-Goldfinchkate@lincolngoldfinch.com(512) 599-8500
Kate serves as the pro bono liaison for the American Immigration Lawyers Association Texas Chapter and serve on the boards of Casa Marianella, a homeless shelter for immigrants, and is the President of the VECINA board. She regularly mentors and train attorneys in an effort to encourage pro bono work by all lawyers, including hosting a monthly pro bono trip to the Karnes Family Detention Center. She was active in working to reunite separated families during the Zero Tolerance policy implemented by the Executive Administration during the summer of 2018.
Karen CrawfordLaw Office of Karen J. Crawfordkaren@karencrawfordlaw.com(512) 494-8100
Karen brings many years of experience in running immigration-related organizations, both in the nonprofit and private practice worlds. Karen currently sits on the City of Austin Commission on Immigrant Affairs and has served as chair. She is also the Secretary of VECINA’s board. Previously, Karen served as the Legal Director and then Interim Executive Director for what is now knows as American Gateways, one of Austin’s most well known immigrant rights nonprofits. She has also taught at Immigration Law Clinic for the University of Texas at Austin School of Law.