A Marlton-based attorney is offering pro bono immigration consultations for Ukrainian refugees in the area.
“I always wanted to continuously help,” said Taiwan native Shereen Chen. “I especially try to do pro bono work if I can. I think that’s what has followed me from when I was working at the CCLSJ (Camden Center For Law and Social Justice) to when I went to (owning a) private practice.
“I’ve always wanted to help on the pro bono end.”
Chen emigrated to the U.S. when she was 2. Her family moved to Mount Laurel when she was in second grade, and she became an American citizen at 16. Chen attended Harrington Middle and Lenape High schools before graduating from Johns Hopkins University and Rutgers University in the ‘90s.
After that, she began work with the CCLSJ, a faith-based and nonprofit law center that assists poor communities with immigration issues. Chen has consistently worked in that area of law throughout her career.
She also partnered with Camden’s Volunteer Up initiative, which helps economically disadvantaged clients by providing pro bono legal services. In 2016, Chen opened her own law firm, Chen-Gray Law Group in Marlton, to concentrate specifically on immigration and nationality laws.
“We do have some nationals that are Ukrainian (at the firm) and that’s why we decided that we wanted to have a platform where we could help people from the Ukraine through free immigration consultations,” Chen explained.
“(The consultations) inform (refugees) what their options might be for staying, or if they have relatives overseas, (we could) see how we could help them,” she added.
Last month, the federal Citizenship and Immigration Services issued a temporary protected status that allows Ukrainian citizens to maintain legal U.S. designation for 18 months and receive employment authorization. Chen encouraged residents to share that information with eligible Ukrainians in the state and emphasize that the consultations are free.
“(The assistance) is for … anybody in this area that may have friends, family or acquaintances that think they might be able to meet this criteria or would just like to explore any other legal avenue to stay in the United States legally while the war is still pending,” she explained.
For more information, contact Chen-Gray Law Group at (856) 888-7005.