Careen Shannon is a Partner based in Fragomen’s New York office. Prior to joining the firm in 1998, Careen was a Pro Se Law Clerk at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit; a Staff Attorney at The Legal Aid Society (Juvenile Rights Division); an attorney in private practice (focusing on immigration law and family law); and a Legal Editor of immigration publications at Matthew Bender & Co.
A frequent speaker and writer, Careen has spoken before numerous bar associations, professional organizations and human resources groups, and has written countless articles on immigration law topics for a variety of legal and human resources publications.
She is the co-author, with Austin T. Fragomen, Jr. and Daniel Montalvo, of a number of legal handbooks published by Thomson Reuters/West and the Practising Law Institute.
Careen is one of the leaders of the firm’s pro bono practice, and in 2014 she launched the U.S. firm’s nationwide effort to provide pro bono legal services to unaccompanied minors and to detained immigrant women and children from Central America.
She has served as a volunteer pro bono attorney in the AILA Artesia Pro Bono Project, and the CARA Family Detention Pro Bono Project, representing detained asylum-seeking immigrant women in bond hearings and credible fear interviews.
In the past, she obtained political asylum for a student leader from the Ivory Coast who had been persecuted for protesting against the government. She worked pro bono to secure entry into the U.S. on a humanitarian basis of the foreign-born children of a victim of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and assisted the battered immigrant spouse of a U.S. citizen in self-petitioning for permanent residence.
Careen also participated in the New York City Bar Justice Center’s Know Your Rights initiative to advise detained immigrants. She is a long-standing member of the Study Group on Immigrant Representation (convened by Chief Judge Robert A. Katzmann of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit), which has spearheaded numerous initiatives aimed at increasing access to counsel for indigent immigrants in the United States.
Careen is fluent in English and Danish, proficient in French, and has a working knowledge of Spanish, Norwegian, Swedish and Japanese.
- Managed a large-scale, in-house compliance audit for a major international investment bank
- Advised a large, global consulting firm on the immigration consequences of a corporate spin-off
- Wrote numerous motions to reopen and appeals that successfully overturned adverse decisions of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the U.S. Department of Labor
- Successfully represented a dual U.S.-Danish citizen who was threatened with loss of her U.S. citizenship
- Secured permanent residence in the national interest for an independent Chinese filmmaker who risked her life to make a clandestine documentary about the Tiananmen Square uprising
- City University of New York School of Law | J.D., 1989
- Oberlin College | B.A., 1981
Bar Admissions: New York, New Jersey
Court Admissions: U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey
- Member, New York State Bar Association, Committee on Immigration Representation, 2011-2018
- Member, American Immigration Lawyers Association (Co-Chair, New York Chapter Website Committee, 1999-2000; Associate Editor, New York Chapter Conference Handbook, 2007; Co-Chair, Law Student Liaison Committee, 2013-14)
- Member, Association of Pro Bono Counsel
- Member, National Association of Pro Bono Professionals
- Member, American Foreign Law Association
- Member, Danish-American Chamber of Commerce
- Former Member, American Bar Association, Section of International Law and Practice Steering Committee for Annual Conference, Beyond Globalization: Issues and Opportunities (2003-2004)
- Adjunct Professor and Director, Immigration Law Field Clinic, Yeshiva University’s Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York City (2004-2015)
- Vice Chair and Member of Executive Committee, Board of Directors, Safe Passage Project
- Vice Chair and Member of Executive Committee, Board of Directors, Obirin Gakuen Foundation of America
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