Attorney Spotlight: Asha Natarajan

Kathryn Chmielewski, October 24, 2018

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Asha standing with client, J, just minutes after his guardianship petition was approved.


Asha Natarajan, an Associate at DLA Piper, took on her first pro bono case with Safe Passage Project in 2014, and has been helping our clients ever since. According to Asha, she stumbled upon Safe Passage Project completely by accident – and we’re glad she did!

For Asha, Safe Passage Project’s start to finish approach ensuring that children have the critical support they need throughout the entire process, from initial intake on day one to completing representation for the child, was a crucial factor in deciding to take on a case with us. “Safe Passage Project’s attorneys immediately struck me as incredibly smart, passionate, organized and just downright impressive,” says Asha.



Having taken on several pro bono matters with Safe Passage Project, Asha has a few words of advice to offer anyone interested in taking on a pro bono case: “Treat pro bono cases just as you do billable matters. Approach these cases with as much empathy and sensitivity as possible. Many of these kids have been through very traumatic childhood experiences and they deserve zealous advocacy, but also patience and kindness.”

“There are few things more fulfilling than helping kids who have been through so much in their life be able to remain in the United States and call it home.”

Safe Passage Project Senior Training Attorney, Alexandra Rizio, has mentored Asha on multiple cases. In Alexandra’s words, “Asha is calm, empathetic, professional and persuasive in a courtroom. She never loses sight of the fact that her clients’ lives are, quite literally, at stake.”

When asked what the most rewarding aspect of her volunteer experience has been thus far, Asha answered, “There are few things more fulfilling than helping kids who have been through so much in their life be able to remain in the United States and call it home. My client, J, stands out in my mind as an unbelievably kind, mature, respectful and driven young man who I am confident will do amazing things in his life. His experience with Safe Passage actually motivated his own career aspirations. J most recently told me that he hopes to attend law school and become an immigration lawyer so he can in turn help kids facing similar challenges.”