American Bar Association Shines Spotlight on Kely Martell for her Work as an Interpreter Volunteer


It is not every day that one of our very own paralegals is honored for her work in immigration law, helping provide a voice to those who do not speak the English language. It is with great pride that we celebrate Kely Martell, for her recent feature in the American Bar Association’s Commission on Immigration (COI), profiling her work as an interpreter volunteer.

Ms. Kely Martell works as a case manager in the business department of our law office, but what you may not know is that for the past year and a half, she has also been dedicating her time as a volunteer Spanish language interpreter and translator for the Immigration Justice Project (IJP). There, she has been working closely with attorneys on pro bono defensive asylum cases, helping reduce barriers to justice for the most vulnerable members of our society.

Growing up in Lima, Peru, Kely immigrated to the United States at a young age with no knowledge of the English language. These struggles shaped her early interest in immigration law and her desire to make a difference in the lives of others. At the height of the asylum crisis when thousands of migrant caravans made their way to the United States, Kely was inspired to action and decided to volunteer as an interpreter for several immigration organizations. She immediately made a positive impression for going beyond what was expected of her, not only helping clients understand their legal rights, but also helping clients and their families navigate the complex intricacies of the immigrant detention system. She displayed an extraordinary commitment to handling these complexities with ease.

Kely first became involved with the ABA’s Immigration Justice Project after reaching out to Senior Staff Attorney and Pro Bono Coordinator Ambreen Walji and the rest was history. She describes her experience working for the Immigration Justice Project as being truly rewarding because of the opportunity she has helping detained immigrants on a day-to-day basis, which are some of the most underserved individuals that are most in need of translator services.

Kely recounted a touching experience in which a client confided in her that while he felt very alone and thought the U.S. immigration system was inhumane, the attorneys and staff helped provide some humanity to his distressing situation. Before Kely was involved as his interpreter, he had no understanding of his legal rights and was not aware that free legal representation was available to him. But with her involvement that has all changed for the better, “in a legal matter, I want clients to have their own voice – I don’t want to speak for them, I need them to be heard.”

We are proud of the work that Kely has accomplished and her commitment to making a difference in the lives of others. On a daily basis, Kely helps investors launch their businesses in the United States, while helping them obtain investment visas. She is also involved in other business and family related visa matters at our office. We are lucky to have her. If you are fortunate to have Kely as your case manager, congratulate her for her remarkable work providing vital services to those in need.

To read the ABA feature please click here.

Questions? If you would like to schedule a consultation, please text 619-483-4549 or call 619-819-9204.

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