Vianey Hurtado is the Florence Project’s 2018 Children’s Pro Bono Attorney of the Year. Each day this week, we will feature one of the pro bono professionals who will be honored at our Annual Pro Bono Appreciate Event on October 25, 2018.

Vianey HurtadoThomas Law Firm

Vianey K. Hurtado first learned of the Florence Project when she was an intern and a law student. When she began working at Thomas Law Firm, they were already involved in pro bono cases with the Florence Project. Getting involved with the Florence Project was easy for Vianey because the organization was impactful and present in the community. She saw a need to help, and she has always had a soft spot for children, so when the chance arose to work on children’s cases, she jumped at the opportunity.

Growing up in Yuma, AZ, as the daughter of immigrants, Vianey became an attorney because she wanted to follow her father’s own dream of being an attorney. However, he put his dream to the side to raise Vianey and her brothers and never had the chance to fulfill it. Over time, it became Vianey’s dream too.

In her career as a criminal defense attorney, Vianey has seen firsthand how impactful having an attorney during legal proceedings can be. Given that in immigration proceedings attorneys  are  privately  retained  and  not  appointed  by  the  court,  Vianey  was  inspired  to get involved and provide legal representation to children who cannot afford the services of an attorney. “Immigration cases are life-altering. It will make a life- changing difference for people fighting to stay in this country, and I want to help make that difference,” she says. “The kids I’ve worked with are fleeing conditions or circumstances so horrific and I’m honored to be able to make a difference in even one child’s life.”

Although immigration law is complex and intimidating, Vianey draws upon her clients’ bravery. “I can see how brave they are for sharing their stories and leaving everything they know to come to a foreign country,  where they don’t speak the language. Seeing how brave they are inspires me. It has been such a rewarding and gratifying experience.”