March 2019 BN360 Spotlight Professional – Kerry Battenfeld

The Buffalo Niagara Partnership is pleased to present the 2019 BN360 Spotlight Professionals, sponsored by Alpine Films.

Each year, BN360 highlights 12 up-and-coming young professionals who strive for professional growth and development, care for their community, and are passionate about the future of the Buffalo Niagara region.

Check in monthly for a feature profile on a young professional making a difference in our community!

Kerry Battenfeld
Immigrant Justice Corps Fellow/Immigration Staff Attorney, Erie County Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Project

Kerry Battenfeld

Kerry is an Immigrant Justice Corps Fellow working with the Immigration Program at the Volunteer Lawyers Project. Kerry represents clients in removal proceedings, affirmative asylum applications, and other forms of relief available to victims of crime. She is a Buffalo native and a 2017 graduate of the University at Buffalo JD/MSW program. Kerry was the 2017 recipient of the Law School’s John N. Bennett Award, which recognized her as having the highest scholastic achievement in her graduating class.

As a student, Kerry was editor-in-chief of the Buffalo Law Review and an oralist on the Phillip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Team. She completed internships with the Partnership for the Public Good, the Sex Workers Project at the Urban Justice Center, and the Immigrant Justice Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center. Prior to graduate school, she worked as a case manager for human trafficking survivors at the International Institute of Buffalo and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Honduras. She is fluent in Spanish.

First Job Out of School

Following school, Kerry worked as a Water and Sanitation Technician with the U.S. Peace Corps in Honduras.

Greatest Professional Win

Kerry’s greatest professional moment so far has been, winning her first trial in immigration court with 17 of the client’s friends and family in the courtroom.

Best Piece of Professional Advice

“It comes from something that U.S. Rep. John Lewis once said: ‘Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.’”

Community Corner

Kerry is an active member of the Buffalo Niagara Community and is involved with:

  • Buffalo School #18 – Tutor for Lawyers for Learning
  • National Lawyers Guild, Buffalo Chapter – Member
  • University at Buffalo School of Law – Guest judge for student moot court competitions
  • University at Buffalo School of Law – One-on-one mentoring for law and JD/MSW students

Thoughts on Living and Working in Buffalo Niagara

“Buffalo has a really generous and supportive legal community that likes to give back and do good work for the city’s residents. I’m proud to be a part of that.”

Greatest Hope for the Region

“That the growth and development we are seeing in Buffalo will be shared by all residents.”

On Being a Spotlight Professional

“It’s wonderful to be recognized and it’s also an opportunity to be grateful for the strong women mentors I’ve had over the course of my professional life. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the women who taught me, supported me, encouraged me to pursue my education and career.”

Kerry’s Top 5 Favorites:

  1. Go to Lunch Spot – Sato Brewpub
  1. Best Buffalo Hidden Gem – Pausa Art House
  1. Dream Vacation Location – Costa Rica
  1. Best Buffalo Activity/Hobby – Riding my bike around the city
  1. Favorite “Buffalo” Food – Lake Effect Ice Cream