Our Boston Immigration, Criminal Defense, Personal Injury Law Firm Team
Legal Team: Immigration, Criminal Defense, Personal Injury
- Desmond P. FitzGerald, Principal Attorney
- Pamela Fuentes, Attorney
- Juan C. Congote, Attorney
- Shirley Naranjo, Paralegal
- Gloribel Rivas, Paralegal
- Geraldine Vittini, Paralegal
Desmond P. FitzGerald, Principal Attorney
As the son of an Irish immigrant Desmond P. FitzGerald understands why people wanted to come to America. As a Boston immigration 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, getting the Immigration Service to accept applications from detained immigrants without a fee, as well as having the first case of a residency petition approved for a same sex marriage by the US District Court of Massachusetts. In addition he has had several important court decisions on his cases published (read more about his published court decisions). As an experienced criminal litigator, attorney FitzGerald has particular expertise in minimizing negative immigration consequences of criminal charges or convictions.
Desmond FitzGerald serves and has served for over 8 years as the legal counsel for the Colombian Consulate for New England 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 the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the state of Florida, Washington D.C., the state of New Hampshire, the US District Court of Massachusetts, the First Circuit Court of Appeals, the U.S. District Court of Southern Florida, the U.S. District Court of Nebraska, the U.S. District Court of Colorado, the U.S. District Court of New Hampshire. He is an active member of the Boston Bar Association, the American Immigration Lawyers Association, and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACLD).
Pamela Fuentes, Attorney
Pamela Fuentes is acutely aware of the immensely important role that immigration law can play in a person’s life. She has experienced the immigration system with her Chilean parents and her Brazilian husband. She understands how it feels to wait for the decision, to imagine the worst, and to hope for the best. It is as a result of her personal experiences that Pamela became drawn to the practice of immigration law. Then, during law school, she worked with the Latinas Know Your Rights project, which helps domestic violence survivors obtain legal residence. Every successful case was a life-changing triumph for the clients, and the experience was more gratifying than Pamela could have imagined. From then on, Pamela has had no doubt that she wants to dedicate herself to the practice of immigration law.
Pamela has a Bachelor’s of Science from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and attended law school at Temple University in Philadelphia. While at law school, she joined the Temple Journal of Science, Technology & Environmental Law to pursue her lifelong passion for writing. She published an article discussing the balance between patents, the pharmaceutical industry, and the needs of the world’s population. Then, during her final year, she was a research assistant for an immigration professor, and explored the rights of migrants throughout the world.
Many other experiences have contributed to Pamela’s growth as a professional. After completing her undergraduate studies, she spent ten months as a member of the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps. During this time, she realized the invaluable strength of teamwork, as well as the joy of helping others. After law school, she clerked for the Honorable Kathleen M. Delaney in Camden, NJ, and learned to juggle countless tasks as she assisted the judge in issuing the right decision in emotionally charged cases. Most recently, she traveled throughout the country, representing people in Social Security Disability hearings. She learned about the responsibility of advocating for her clients in front of Administrative Law Judges, and the simple yet profound importance of truly listening to her clients. Pamela is excited to continue advancing her career as a lawyer at FitzGerald & Company.
Juan C. Congote, Attorney
For Juan Congote, practicing immigration law is all about bringing families together and about helping people achieve their dreams. As a Colombian immigrant himself, Juan has first hand knowledge of the hopes and expectations that immigrants have when they decide to move into this country, pursuing a better future. These experiences, and those of his family, also immigrant, are what motivate Juan to practice in the immigration field.
Juan got his Bachelor of Arts degree from Florida Atlantic University where he was in the President’s List and in the Dean’s list. He attended law school at Suffolk University where he was in the Dean’s List for three years in a row. During Law School, Juan was part of the Suffolk University Law School Immigration Law Clinic, where he represented indigent immigrants in asylum petitions and removal proceedings. He was also tasked of conducting the “Know your Rights” presentation in Spanish to ICE Detainees in Suffolk County Jail.
Juan’s legal experience has always revolved around helping those who need it the most. He worked as a Social Security Disability attorney for over four years, where he appeared in over a hundred hearings representing Social Security Disability claimants. Juan is now part of FitzGerald Law Company, with the objective of zealously defending the rights of the immigrant community and of those who have found themselves unfairly treated by the legal system.
Shirley Naranjo, Paralegal
Born in Pereira, Colombia, Shirley is fluent in English and Spanish with a basic understanding of Portuguese. She is a full time paralegal at our Immigration, Criminal and Personal Injury Boston Law Office, she is responsible for preparing immigration applications, motions, affidavits, managing client relations, court communications, general case management and interpreting when needed.
Having emigrated from Colombia to be reunited with her family and after a long immigration process to become a “ legal alien”, Shirley understands our clients from both a professional as well as a personal perspective. Adapting to a new culture when moving to a different country is not easy and Shirley remembers the arduous experiences that came with adapting herself like not knowing her rights, being afraid of being separated again from her family or not speaking the language. Shirley knew back then that her mission was to help and encourage people who are going through the same experiences she went through.
Shirley is a graduate from Universidad Libre – Colombia with a BA in Environmental Engineering.She has obtained certificates in English from Harvard Extension School, BCAE, Salem State University and just got certified in Community Interpreting at Language Connections. She has worked in the past by implementing projects to mitigate environmental impact, and creating awareness of this issue in the community. Shirley enjoys making a positive influence in people’s lives and is an avid supporter of St. Jude Children’s research . She participates every year in the Boston Walk To End Alzheimer’s.
Gloribel Rivas, Paralegal
Gloribel Rivas was born in El Salvador and is fluent in English and Spanish. She is a full-time paralegal at our Immigration, Criminal and Personal Injury Boston law firm. She is responsible for preparing immigration applications, motions, affidavits, managing client relations, court communications, general case management and interpreting when needed.
Gloribel understands the impact and importance of immigration law first-hand. She was born in El Salvador and immigrated to the United States at a very young age. She navigated the immigration system throughout her formative years along with her family. Her personal experience with immigration law motivates her to help other immigrants navigate the complicated processes needed to achieve their immigration goals.
Gloribel is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Boston. She interned at legal aid organization where she helped defend tenants, many of them immigrants like herself, facing evictions and other threats to their housing. She then worked at an immigration law office where she performed general administrative tasks and interpreted for clients. The combination of academic, professional and personal experience in the field of immigration and public interest motivates Gloribel to personally contribute to the facilitation of the immigration process for others.
Geraldine Vittini, Paralegal
Geraldine Vittini was born in New York and as the daughter of immigrants from the Dominican Republic, she is fluent in English and Spanish. She is a full-time paralegal at our Immigration, Criminal and Personal Injury Boston law firm, and as such is responsible for preparing immigration applications, motions, affidavits, managing client relations, court communications, general case management and interpreting when needed.
Geraldine believes that access to a safe, stable, and bountiful life is an inalienable right, and that the people who work hard for a chance at that life should be given the most support possible. This is why she chose to dedicate her career to helping immigrants and their families gain safe and legal status in the United States.
Her own family was privileged enough to gain status at a time when the process was much easier. Her mother was willing to risk her life to have a chance at success when she immigrated to the United States. However, she believes that immigrants should never have to put themselves in danger in the pursuit of a happy and free life. Her childhood in New York City taught her to be understanding and compassionate so she can help her clients through their most difficult obstacles.
Her parents’ successes were due to the peace of mind that is afforded from a legal immigration status. She knows firsthand how difficult it is to work and live while under the stress and threat of removal from one’s new home, but through her work at FitzGerald Law Company, she feels she can help provide comfort and ease of mind to more immigrants every day.
In addition to her personal motives, her professional career also reflects her belief in immigrants’ right to a successful life. she volunteers at the Refugee and Immigrant Assistance Center in Roxbury, an organization which provides recently-entered refugees with material support in starting their new lives in Massachusetts. She graduated from Suffolk University with a minor in Political Science, where she was part of the school newspaper covering topics on local politics and news. Before she began working as an immigration paralegal, she provided academic tutoring to international and ESL students at the university. Through her work with students from all over the world, she learned how to communicate with all types of people, which helps her be a better ally to my clients.
Gloria Lara, Executive Director
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.
Covadonga Fernández, Administration and Billing Associate
Born in Madrid, Spain, Covadonga is fluent in Spanish and English. She supports the Executive Director in all aspects of firm administration. She is responsible for client contracts, bill payment, collections, 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.
Covadonga came to USA because her husband was transferred by his company from Spain so she knows first hand the complexity of moving to a different country and takes great satisfaction in helping and guiding others to understand and navigate the system of the diverse immigration processes.
Covadonga studied Economics in Madrid and previously worked as executive assistant in a real estate company. There she was responsible for implementing and integrating a new data base and website, as well as managing the company’s advertising campaigns and supporting business development. She has always focused on client satisfaction and she excels at implementing productive and creative strategies as well as leading new projects. Covadonga now brings her extensive business experience to our firm and is dedicated to providing our clients with excellent customer care.
185 Devonshire Street, Suite 601, Boston, MA 02110
FitzGerald Law Company (Boston)