Ellen Pachnanda

Staff Attorney, Immigration Practice

Tel (718) 254-0700 x 159

 Ellen is a seasoned attorney with over 13 years of experience focusing on criminal defense and immigration law. Ellen joined BDS’s immigration practice in 2016, where she represents detained non-citizens facing deportation through the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project (NYIFUP).

Ellen is passionate about advocating for the rights of those most in need and has dedicated her entire legal  career to doing so. After receiving her B.A. from Cornell University (A.B., College of Arts & Sciences, 2000), she realized her desire to pursue law and attended State University of New York at Buffalo Law School (J.D., 2003). During law school, she served as the lead law clerk for the United States Attorney for the Western District of New York.  She remained in her hometown of Buffalo, as an associate with the Criminal Defense firm of Harrington & Mahoney, practicing primarily in Federal Court.  At Harrington & Mahoney, her interest in the intersection of criminal defense and immigration rights began when she advised clients of immigration consequences of criminal convictions.

Prior to her role at BDS, Ellen  served as associate counsel in the criminal division at the Legal Aid Society of Westchester County for 9 years, handling felony criminal matters.   While at Legal Aid, Ellen established and ran their Padilla practice—developing the protocol for advisals,  initiating training internally and in Westchester County, arguing before Judges in Westchester and working closely with clients.

Outside of work, Ellen can be found chasing one or both of her two small children and continues to root for her beleaguered Buffalo Bills.