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Sheppard Mullin and Elizabeth Balfour Honored at Casa Cornelia's 16th Annual La Mancha Awards


Sheppard Mullin is pleased to announce that it has been recognized as the 2023 Pro Bono Law Firm of the Year by Casa Cornelia Law Center at its 16th Annual La Mancha Awards. In addition, Casa Cornelia has honored partner Elizabeth Balfour as its 2023 Distinguished Pro Bono Attorney of the Year.

Sheppard Mullin has been providing pro bono legal services to Casa Cornelia for more than 20 years and has assisted hundreds of pro bono clients from around the world in a variety of asylum and immigration matters, including deportation proceedings and administrative proceedings before immigration judges. In 2000, the firm represented a young Mexican immigrant in a precedent-setting case before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Balfour, a partner in the Business Trial practice group in Sheppard Mullin’s Del Mar, California office, is a long-standing pro bono and community leader, regularly taking on and promoting pro bono work as the firm’s liaison to Casa Cornelia. She is being recognized for her extraordinary efforts in assisting refugees fleeing persecution from the Taliban following the United States’ withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. Balfour coordinated more than 15 teams that undertook the representation of Afghan asylum seekers referred by Casa Cornelia. In addition to directly supervising asylum matters, she spearheaded the recruitment and training of more than 60 Sheppard Mullin attorneys and summer associates to prepare asylum applications for refugees from Afghanistan seeking to obtain legal status. Casa Cornelia is a nonprofit public interest law firm that provides pro bono legal services to victims of human and civil rights violations, with a particular focus on serving immigrant communities in the greater San Diego County.

“I am humbled and honored to be recognized by Casa Cornelia with this award,” Balfour said. “There is nothing more fulfilling than helping to change the lives of these people who have given so much to our country.”

Balfour is the second Sheppard Mullin attorney to receive the Casa Cornelia Pro Bono Attorney of the Year award. In 2013, former associate Gray Buccigross also was honored with the award.

The annual award honors the commitment of outstanding volunteer attorneys, law firms, interpreters, translators, law clerks and community members whose dedication furthers Casa Cornelia’s mission.

About Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP

Sheppard Mullin is a full-service AmLaw 50 firm with more than 1,000 attorneys in 16 offices located in the United States, Europe and Asia. Since 1927, industry-leading companies have turned to Sheppard Mullin to handle corporate and technology matters, high-stakes litigation and complex financial transactions. In the U.S., the firm's clients include almost half of the Fortune 100.  For more information, please visit

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