At Spar & Bernstein, Sarah Sklar-Heyn is focused on working at the intersection of criminal defense and immigration law. She works with attorneys in both departments to seek post-conviction relief for noncitizen clients.

A criminal conviction can create many obstacles for a noncitizen client. It can make it very difficult to adjust immigration status or get relief from deportation, and the effects can be felt for many years after the fact. Sarah has assisted in cases where clients have been detained, are in removal proceedings, are applying for immigration benefits, or are pursuing a path to citizenship.

Sarah works with criminal defense and immigration attorneys to investigate a client’s conviction and determine whether it was obtained in accordance with the client’s constitutional rights. If it was not, it may be possible to petition the court to reconsider a client’s case and, hopefully, relieve the client of a conviction’s lasting adverse immigration consequences.

In part due to training in alternative dispute resolution, mediation, in particular, Sarah emphasizes patience and understanding in everything she does. She approaches conflict with an open mind. She appreciates that each client has a singular experience unique to them alone, and she respects who they are and where they come from.

Sarah enjoys helping clients navigate the criminal justice system and immigration process—which can be very complicated and intimidating areas of law—and helping them show the best side of themselves.

Prior to joining Spar and Bernstein, Sarah worked for several years as part of a busy real estate and foreclosure practice at a mid-size firm. Before attending law school and becoming an attorney, she worked for several years in independent film and television production in NYC, mainly for a production company specializing in nonfiction television programming. She developed an enduring interest in promoting storytelling by diverse and underrepresented filmmakers, and she is a member of the professional organization New York Women in Film and Television.

Sarah also maintains membership in the New York City Bar Association and New York State Bar Association.

EDUCATION

  • Amherst College, Amherst, MA
  • B.A., Psychology, 2005
  • Honors: Graduated with Distinction (Top 20%)
  • Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, New York, NY
  • J.D., with Intellectual Property Concentration, 2012
  • Honors: Cardozo Journal of International and Comparative Law, Executive Editor (2011-12)
  • Publication: Note, Battling Clearance Culture Shock: Comparing U.S. Fair Use and Canadian Fair Dealing in Advancing Freedom of Expression in Nonfiction Film, 20:1 CARDOZO J. INT’L & COMP. LAW 233 (2011)

COURT AND BAR ADMISSIONS

  • New York State