Joseph Greenwald & Laake principal Veronica Nannis recently accepted a new leadership position on the Ayuda Advisory Council. Ayuda is an organization solely focused on serving clients in the DMV by providing free legal work, social work and language access services to immigrants from 104 countries, 70 percent of whom are Spanish-speaking.
Nannis has spent time this past year supporting Ayuda through various events with the organization. In September, Nannis co-hosted the organization’s annual welcome breakfast that raised awareness and donations for Ayuda’s core mission supporting the immigrant community. The event fell during Hispanic Heritage Month, which is celebrated from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. She also co-sponsored Ayuda’s 44th Anniversary Fundraiser in May, with other JGL attorneys in attendance to show their support for the cause. This cause hits close to home for Nannis, who is the daughter of an immigrant, and who is proud of her Colombian heritage.
Nannis is a seasoned attorney in the firm’s Civil Litigation department and has a pro bono commitment to immigrants’ rights and access to justice. In her work with JGL, she has had the opportunity to represent clients from the immigrant community in particular through her work on the firm’s civil rights cases. In 2011, she was one of four attorneys who represented the Espina family, who brought a case against Prince George’s County and Officer Steven Jackson for the 2008 shooting death of Manuel Espina in Langley Park. The jury returned a record-setting verdict in the amount of $11.5 million for the constitutional violations. Nannis was also one of the firm’s recipients of the Trial Lawyer of the Year award by the Maryland Association for Justice for her work in the Espina case. After the verdict, Nannis prepared Mrs. Espina to testify before the Maryland General Assembly regarding the monetary cap on judgments against local governments, which led to the cap being increased for the first time since 1987.
For Nannis, this prestigious appointment fits into both her own personal commitment, and the firm’s commitment, to representing and protecting the marginalized members of society who are often the victims of crime, fraud and abuse.