(Please read if you are not in the
New England Region.)
- Obama's New Waiver (I-601A) Regulation in Effect March 4, 2013
- Effect of Receiving Public Benefits and Non-Payment of Child Support on Immigration Petitions (Nov 2012)
- Deferred Action Program for Young Immigrants or Childhood Arrivals - DACA Part 2 (August 2012)
- Deferred Action Program for Young Immigrants or Childhood Arrivals - DACA Part 1 (July 2012)
- Residency and travel abroad: Avoid losing your residency (Dec. 2011)
- Cancellation of Removal/Deportation, Second Quarter 2011
- Priority Dates Advanced - December 2010
- The "U" Visa, First Quarter 2010
- Conditional Residency Newsletter, Third Quarter 2009
- American Citizenship Newsletter, Second Quarter 2009
- First Quarter 2009 Newsletter (immigration benefits for stepchildren, deportation, waivers, TPS, 245i, criminal charges and immigration)
- Is your Immigration Petition Taking too Long? You may sue the immigration service (USCIS)
- The 2008 U.S Presidential Candidates on National Immigration Reform
- December 2007 Newsletter
- Newsletter Index
|Desmond P. FitzGerald, Principal Attorney|
|Rachel Benedict - Attorney|
|Michelle De Oliveira - Attorney|
|Drinalda Osmanaj - Paralegal|
|Adriel Orozco - Paralegal|
|Daisa Guilarte - Paralegal|
|Gloria Lara - Executive Director|
|Mariajimena Lizarralde - Administration and Case Coordinator|
As the son of an Irish immigrant Desmond P. FitzGerald understands why people wanted to come to America. As an attorney who helped his Colombian-born wife become an American citizen he understands what it takes to make this happen.
Through his personal and legal experience it became apparent to attorney FitzGerald that there was little ingenuity and a lack of a consultative, proactive solutions-based approach to the area of immigration law. In order to better meet this need in the community, Mr. FitzGerald decided to start his own firm, which through his leadership, creative approach and litigation success, grew into what is now FitzGerald & Company.
Understanding firsthand the anxieties associated with immigration, Desmond has not forgotten the importance of serving every client in a respectful and personalized manner. He likes to work closely with clients to identify their objectives and provide them with a goal-based strategy to help accomplish them. For Desmond and his team there is no greater joy and reward in the practice of law, than to provide clients with the results they dream of. This is why the majority of the new clients that come to the firm are referred by satisfied clients.
Attorney FitzGerald has successfully filed legal actions against numerous government agencies, including the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles, for improperly denying licenses to immigrants and against the Immigration Service (USCIS) for failing to properly and timely adjudicate immigrant petitions.
Significant legal accomplishments include establishing the rights of step children of U.S. citizens to be recognized as “unconditional” legal permanent residents as well as getting the Immigration Service to accept applications from detained immigrants without a fee. As an experienced criminal litigator, attorney FitzGerald has particular expertise in minimizing negative immigration consequences of criminal charges.
Desmond FitzGerald has served as the legal counsel for the Colombian Consulate for New England for over 7 years and his firm has always recognized the benefits that the immigrant community provides to our region and nation and the importance of offering quality legal services to protect it.
After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Boston College, Attorney FitzGerald had the opportunity to live in Bogotá, Colombia, where he studied Spanish at the Universidad Javeriana, before he received his law degree from the New England School of Law.
Attorney FitzGerald has been admitted by the Bar to practice law in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Florida, and Washington, D.C. and is an active member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.
Ms. Benedict is a native of the Midwest who was born in Iowa and grew up in Akron, Ohio. Her interest in immigration law stems from her family history. Her grandmother is an Italian Jew who was fortunate enough to receive a visa to come to the United States in 1940. As at that time the United States had a quota system which severely restricted the number of visas available to Eastern and Southern Europeans. She has always considered her family to be extremely lucky and felt called to work with present-day immigrants to the United States. Ms. Benedict’s interest in immigration law was further sparked after she spent a year working as an immigration paralegal for immigrant victims of domestic violence. Rachel has handled a variety of immigration matters including family and employment based visas and residency petitions, U visas, VAWA self-petitions, and Special Immigrant Juvenile Status and asylum applications.
Rachel Benedict is admitted to the bar in Massachusetts. She received her Juris Doctorate from Northeastern University School of Law in 2009. While at Northeastern, she completed an internship at the Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS) Immigration Unit. At GBLS, she played a key part in the asylum cases for two indigenous Guatemalan women who were picked up in the 2007 ICE raid in New Bedford. She also interned at CASA de Maryland, an immigrant rights organization, where she assisted with litigation related to civil rights abuses committed by police officers deputized under 287(g) agreements with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
In addition to Ms. Benedict’s experience in immigration law, she also has extensive experience in public benefits and employment law. She has worked as hearing officer presiding over unemployment insurance appeal hearings for the state of Mississippi. She also served as a review examiner (staff attorney) for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development Board of Review, a quasi-judicial tribunal which has jurisdiction to hear appeals of unemployment insurance claims and other unemployment matters.
Rachel developed her Spanish fluency after completing two intensive Spanish immersion programs in Latin America. Rachel is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Carleton College with a Bachelor of Arts in Religion.
Born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Michelle is fluent in Portuguese and Spanish in addition to English, and she takes great pride in being able to assist the immigrant community. Michelle arrived in the United States at the age of 6 and was raised in Massachusetts.
After getting a Bachelor’s degree, Michelle worked at FitzGerald & Company as a paralegal for five years. During this time, Michelle handled numerous employment-based petitions, family petitions, and cases before the Immigration Court. Her experience at FitzGerald & Company reaffirmed her desire to firmly dive into a legal career and pursue a law school degree at Northeastern University School of Law.
While in law school, Michelle worked at Shilepsky Hartley Robb Casey Michon LLP, where she was able to work on various aspects of cases dealing with employment law and executive advocacy. Michelle assisted in cases addressing a wide range of employment matters, including discrimination, wrongful termination, the negotiation of severance issues, and contract disputes.
Michelle also participated in internships at the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts with the Honorable George A. O'Toole, Jr., at the Public Corruption Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts, and at the Civil Trial Division of the Attorney General’s Office in Boston, Massachusetts.
Michelle is a summa cum laude graduate from Northeastern University where she studied Psychology and has a Juris Doctorate from Northeastern University School of Law.
Michelle is admitted to the bar in Massachusetts.
Born in Albania, Drinalda is fluent in English, Albanian, Spanish and Italian. Her knowledge in immigration law is intertwined with previous personal and work experience. Having immigrated from Albania, Drinalda vividly remembers her experience of what it is to leave your homeland and have to adapt to a new culture and language. Settling in and adapting to a whole new world is very important for every immigrant family. Experiencing this first hand, Drinalda better understands the issues people from different backgrounds encounter when coming into the United States. Experiencing the legal process of immigrating herself, she has mastered the social and legal aspects of most immigration issues and she is dedicated in full to each individual case. At FitzGerald & Company, Ms. Osmanaj is responsible for preparing immigration petitions, motions, client and court communications, and overall case management.
Drinalda’s knowledge of the legal procedures and processes for filing immigration petitions and litigating personal injury and criminal matters, is further complimented by her past work experience in other areas of the law, including family law, estate planning, and collections litigation. Moreover, having worked as a paralegal continuously since graduating college, Drinalda has developed the strong client relations, research and organizational skills, which are essential to her profession. Ms. Osmanaj has a Bachelor's Degree from Suffolk University in Paralegal Studies.
Born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Adriel is fluent in Spanish and intermediate in Portuguese. He is a full-time paralegal, handling immigration, criminal and personal injury cases. He is responsible for preparing immigration applications, client relations, court communications and general case management. Born from Mexican parents and raised in a border state, Adriel draws his intercultural understanding through his family and heritage.
Adriel received his BA in Economics and Politics from Brandeis University. He studied abroad in São Paulo, Brazil attending the Pontífica Universidade Católica de São Paulo. He also taught English and mathematics to fifteen high school students and did research on illiteracy and its relation to the Brazilian economy and political system.
Additionally, Adriel is Managing Director of a student-run fellowship program, Students Crossing Boundaries (SCB). As a co-founder of the fellowship, Adriel has worked with nineteen students in the course of two years, educating them about conflict and coexistence. Adriel’s background as a first-generation American, his time in Brazil, and his work with SCB have given him substantial experience addressing conflicts arising from seemingly disparate perspectives. He is interested in national and international politics and deeply dedicated to immigrant advocacy and helping immigrants navigate legal issues.
Born in Guantanamo, Cuba, Daisa is fluent in English and Spanish with a basic understanding in French and German. She is a full time paralegal, handling immigration, criminal and personal injury cases. She is responsible for preparing immigration applications, client relations, court communications and general case management.
Daisa received her BA in Political Science with a Peace and Conflict Studies Concentration from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA. She traveled to Mexico in her first year to experience the culture and learn more about the country from the people she visited and experts in the area. She also taught English and Citizenship classes as part of her undergraduate off-campus internship and has travelled throughout France, Switzerland, and Italy.
Having emigrated from Cuba to the United States at the age of eight, she has experienced first hand the immigration process and its effect on family reunification. Her immigrant experience and dedication to social justice drive her passion for helping others to navigate the legal process.
Born in Bogotá, Colombia. Ms. Lara's responsibilities are wide in scope, ranging from strategic planning, marketing, and operations, to human resources, accounting and billing. Though this may sound like a huge task to manage, she is a believer in teamwork and delegation. Her top priority is to make sure our clients are being taken care of appropriately at all times. Gloria is one of our leading problem solvers; her background in business consulting, marketing and Internet start-ups has been key to managing the growth at FitzGerald & Company and making sure that the firm adopts the best business practices among service industries.
A graduate from Boston College undergraduate School of Communication, and Boston University's dual MBA and MA in International Relations graduate program, Gloria has helped propel FitzGerald and Company into the efficient and service-oriented business it is today. Formerly, Gloria served as Marketing Director at NewDeal Inc. and Espanol.com. In addition, she served as Internet and management consultant at AGENCY.COM, DIGITAS, Arthur D. Little, and Monitor Company. She is an active member of the Association of Legal Administrators and the Legal Marketing Association. On a personal note, Ms. Lara has held 5 different types of visas to reside in the U.S., including B1/B2, F1, E2, H1, residency, and now citizenship. She is fluent in Spanish, French, and English.
Born in Bogotá, Colombia, Mariajimena is fluent in Spanish, French, and English. She supports the Executive Director in all aspects of firm administration. Specifically, she is responsible for client contracts, bill payment, vendor relationships, client database maintenance, marketing and technology projects, filing system administration, maintenance of the office calendar, and supervision and coordination of daily firm operations. She handles our relations and work with the Colombian Consulate in Boston for which the firm is the legal counsel for the New England area. Also she is responsible for preparing immigration applications, client relations, government correspondence, and general case management.
Ms. Lizarralde immigrated with her three children to the United States in 2002 as an asylee. Having gone through the immigration process herself, Mariajimena takes great satisfaction in helping and guiding others to understand and navigate the complex system of the diverse immigration processes.
Mariajimena studied business administration and graphic design in Colombia and she has worked in business administration for more than 10 years. Upon arrival to the U.S., Mariajimena worked for an International Courier and later owned her own business. She has always focused on client satisfaction and she excels at implementing productivity strategies and leading new projects. Mariajimena now brings her extensive business experience to our firm, is dedicated to our clients and loves her work.