October 23, 2020

The Children's Law Center is a not-for-profit focusing on defending children's rights in the New York area.

On October 22, Willkie and several of the firm’s attorneys were honored by the Children’s Law Center (CLC) with the 12th annual Employee Recognition and Volunteer Appreciation (ERVA) award. The team of awardees included partner Richard Mancino, associates Ciara Copell and Annie Houghton-Larsen, and discovery attorney Sarah Geiger.

The CLC is a not-for-profit law firm focusing on defending children's rights in the New York area. Since 1997, the firm’s child advocate attorneys have been dedicated to representing children in a wide range of court proceedings. These include custody, guardianship, visitation, domestic violence, and child protective cases. Each year, the CLC identifies staff and volunteers who have worked with exceptional diligence on behalf of their child clients, giving them strong and effective voices in legal proceedings that have a critical impact on their lives.

Willkie and its attorneys are recognized for their outstanding work in a 2019 international child abduction case, in which a mother and six children fled an abusive religious sect in Guatemala, escaping to Brooklyn, New York. The father, a sect leader, filed an action in the EDNY under the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction to have the children returned to Guatemala. The CLC and Willkie successfully advocated that the children should stay in New York with their mother instead of being forced to return to Guatemala. The case involved complex issues relating to family, criminal, federal and international law, as well as advocacy on behalf of the young children who had experienced severe trauma.

To learn more about the CLC, please visit their website here.