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NYLAG Voices: Meet Dorit

In 2017, a wave of anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies shook our world and our work. In response, NYLAG’s Domestic Violence Law Unit (DVLU) mobilized to train attorneys and advocates to protect the rights of immigrant survivors of intimate partner violence.  

Dorit Heimer is one such attorney. Coming from a family of immigrants herself, she felt called to action and immediately reached out, wanting to help. It was at that point that Dorit decided to embrace a different path in her retirement, dedicating her time to mastering a new – and often convoluted and frustrating – area of law instead of settling into a more leisurely routine.  

When asked about the early days of volunteering at NYLAG, Dorit shared, “At the time, I knew nothing at all about immigration law, but NYLAG offered an opportunity to learn on the job – allowing me to volunteer my legal experience under the supervision of experts in immigration law.  

One of the very first things I learned was that there are paths to citizenship for victims of domestic violence. I immediately gravitated to working with those individuals who are doubly burdened by the challenges of domestic violence and lack of immigration status.” 

Since that first day, Dorit has handled dozens of cases and volunteered thousands of hours, achieving immigration stability and finality for so many clients and their children. She shared, “My work at NYLAG has been the most meaningful of any I have done over my career. The resilience and strength of the clients I’ve worked with has been awe-inspiring. There is really nothing like the moment when I’ve been able to call a client and tell her, ‘Guess what? I’m holding your green card in my hands.’ The response is always the same: both of us crying and laughing together. It’s a privilege to do this work and to share that moment.” 

Are you a retired attorney or otherwise looking to volunteer at NYLAG? Visit our website to learn more!  

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