Associate Lisa Baker Jones Recognized for Advocacy Leadership
May 23, 2014
Ms. Baker Jones will receive the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Advocacy Award for Outstanding Efforts in Support of AILA's Advocacy Agenda at the organization's Annual Conference in Boston this June.
In 2013, State Assembly Bill AB-1159 (the Immigration Reform Act) was introduced in the California State Legislature. Although the purported purpose was to protect consumers against immigration fraud, AILA attorneys immediately realized that it would have the opposite effect. By unfairly over-legislating the attorney-client relationship, the bill would have forced immigration attorneys to violate professional rules of conduct and may have even put clients at risk. The proposed bill placed onerous compliance requirements on immigration lawyers far in excess of what is imposed on other attorneys in California.
Realizing the significant negative impact the bill would have on both immigration attorneys and immigrants — and the model it could be for other states — Lisa Baker Jones and the three other California Chapter Chairs jumped into action. These four AILA leaders mobilized the membership to voice their concerns and worked with legislative staff, bar leaders and others to have the most unjust provisions removed. When AB-1159 ultimately passed and was signed into law, it was vastly different from how it started, one that actually did provide consumer protections while encouraging ethical legal representation. These four Chapter Chairs deserve much credit and our thanks for what they accomplished.
This award comes as Ms. Baker Jones closes out her successful year serving as Chair of AILA NorCal, the organization's Northern California chapter.