Janet L. Porro, is a solo practitioner in New Jersey, who specializes in matrimonial law, custody, and domestic violence cases.
Ms. Porro often utilizes her legal background to engage in pro bono work outside of her general practice devoted to the area of domestic violence. When she was introduced to the Safe Passage Project and its mission, Ms. Porro was excited to get involved, but new to the field of Immigration law. As a family law attorney, Ms. Porro admits that she was initially intimidated by the fact that she would be working in a completely foreign area of law. However, with the assistance of the Safe Passage Project team and the “extremely comprehensive” Safe Passage handbook, Ms. Porro was quickly put at ease. Ms. Porro also found that the assistance of student volunteers was vital in making a connection with the client. It enabled the client to feel comfortable and fostered trust between the client and attorney.
For Ms. Porro, representing an immigrant child was life changing for everybody. It provided her a new outlook on life and was more than just representation. “Learning about my client, her journey to this country and backstory, were motivating and humbling” she said. “I was inspired by the fact that a child had gone through such an unsafe, traumatic experience at such a young age and could still be happy and have such a positive attitude about being in this country. I was further impressed by the child’s good work ethic and desire to learn English and achieve success in this country. It helped me reflect on the life that U.S. citizens take for granted every day.”
Ms. Porro is already looking forward to her next case with Safe Passage. “The impact you can have on a child’s life is tangible and rarely experienced by most lawyers. I already anticipate working Safe Passage to help another brave and inspiring child.”
In addition to working with Safe Passage, Ms. Porro frequently volunteers her time providing legal assistance at a battered women’s shelter in New Jersey, volunteers with a program in Morris Country, New Jersey, conducting a special training for pro bono attorneys on how to handle domestic violence cases, and sits on the Morris County Domestic Violence Task Force, which addresses domestic violence policy issues within Morris County and creates programs to help victims of domestic violence.
When she is not practicing law, Ms. Porro enjoys hiking in the woods of New York State, photography, learning Italian, and engaging in her newest hobby, compound bow target shooting.
***Attorney of the Week feature by Safe Passage student Natalie Bello, NYLS Class of 2014