Meghan J. Gilligan & Maeghan O. Mikorski – Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

Meghan Gilligan and Maeghan Mikorski are the recipients of the Legal Team award for their advocacy on behalf of Alba*, a Spanish-speaking, divorced mother of one child, living in Queens and working as a home health aide. Alba’s ex-husband, who worked in the restaurant industry, had never provided financial support to their daughter.

When Alba petitioned for child support on her own, the father refused to appear in the case, and then refused to pay the amount that Alba was awarded on default. Years later, owing Alba thousands of dollars in back child support, the father petitioned to lower his child support obligation claiming he had lost his job. Alba felt confident that he was hiding assets and income but she knew she would not be able to prove it on her own.

Sullivan and Cromwell immediately sprung into action, seeking financial discovery from the father, and engaging Kroll to investigate the father’s family businesses and property interests. Meghan and Maeghan were unrelenting in their quest to reveal the deception behind the downward modification petition and to get the father to finally pay support after years of delinquency. A major turning point in the case was their discovery of a Porsche in the father’s name, hidden in the Dominican Republic. Faced with the evidence of his willful refusal to pay child support, the father entered into a favorable settlement for Alba, giving her an upfront award of $10,000 in child support arrears, with a significant monthly child support obligation going forward. The support magistrate praised the efforts of the Sullivan team in moving the parties towards an efficient settlement.

*Names have been changed to protect client confidentiality.

Her Justice has given me the opportunity to use my legal education to make a real difference in the lives of women who have not been awarded the same privileges that I have. This face to face interaction with clients reminds me of why I chose to pursue a career in law in the first place, and inspires me to continue to develop my legal skills so that I am able to do as much good in the community as possible. Now more than ever, organizations like Her Justice show us that the value of the law is in its ability to change people’s lives for the better. – Maeghan O. Mikorski