Wayne Benos received his undergraduate degree from the University of Cincinnati, cum laude, and his law degree from the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. He has been engaged in the practice of law since 1980 and has extensive experience in multiple areas of law, especially litigation, including a stint of almost five years though the end of 2006 as Assistant Chief Counsel for the United States Department of Homeland Security, Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Since leaving the government, Mr. Benos has continued to concentrate his practice in the area of Immigration Litigation and his firm has entered into bilateral working relationships with a number of law firms throughout the State of Ohio and elsewhere wherein the expertise of both firms can be focused on achieving the goals of each of their clients.
Mr. Benos also represents individual and corporate clients in an array of non-immigration matters and has served as Acting Judge in the Garfield Heights Municipal Court from November of 2008 to April of 2010. Mr. Benos was managing partner of the Law Firm: Benos, Cummings, Mann & Valenti, Co. LPA from 1986 through 2001 and has been involved in a multitude of types of litigation representing both individuals and major corporations, including multimillion dollar toxic tort and construction defect cases, giving him a well rounded and in depth perspective on the intricacies of the litigation process. Mr. Benos has been on the board of the Cuyahoga Valley Chamber of Commerce since 1995 and has in the past served as its president. He has also been a board member and officer of the Cleveland Rape Crises Center (1990 – 95). He is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and the Ohio State Bar Association. He has spoken on topics related to Immigration Litigation at seminars throughout the State of Ohio.
Jessica Larson joined The Benos Law Firm, LLC in January 2012 as an associate and became a principal in 2019. Before joining the firm, Jessica served as the Judicial Law Clerk and Attorney Advisor for the Cleveland Immigration Court, where she researched and drafted written opinions for all of the Court’s immigration judges and coordinated the Court’s law school intern program. This two-year clerkship enabled her to develop a depth and breadth of knowledge regarding removal proceedings that she now uses to assist clients appearing before the Immigration Court.
A native of Dayton, Ohio, Jessica grew up learning about immigration law from her father, also an immigration attorney. She graduated summa cum laude from Miami University in 2004 with a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature and Minors in Mathematics, Political Science, and Women’s Studies. After graduating from Miami, she joined the Peace Corps and served as a volunteer in Moldova from 2004 through 2006, teaching English as a foreign language to 5th through 12th graders in the town of Nisporeni. Jessica returned to the United States to attend law school at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, graduating summa cum laude in May 2009. She began her clerkship at the Immigration Court, awarded through the Department of Justice Honors Program, in September 2009 and completed her term there in September 2011. She was admitted to the Ohio Bar in November 2009. Jessica is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.
Sarah Okuh joined The Benos Law Firm, LLC, in April 2014. Before joining the firm, Sarah worked as an associate attorney with Jennifer I. Peyton, Attorney at Law, LLC. Her practice is focused on immigration work, and her primary areas of representation include removal defense work, family-based immigration, asylum and refugee law, juvenile petitions, U visa and VAWA petitions, and naturalization. Sarah is an adjunct faculty member at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law, where she teaches Immigration Law II: Asylum & Refugee Law.
Sarah grew up in the greater Cleveland area. She completed her undergraduate studies at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI, where she majored in philosophy and psychology, minored in gender studies, and graduated with honors. Sarah is an alumna of the Case Western Reserve University School of Law, from which she graduated magna cum laude and with Order of the Coif honors. Sarah was the Executive Contributing Editor of the Law Review and Editor-in-Chief of the War Crimes Prosecution Watch. She has been published in the Case Western Reserve Law Review. During law school, Sarah worked for Human Rights Watch in New York City and for the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland in the Community Advocacy Program, a medical-legal partnership with MetroHealth Hospitals. Sarah is admitted as an attorney in Ohio as well as before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.
Cerena Ibara-Cech joined Benos & Larson, LLC as a law clerk in March 2019 and later became an associate attorney with the firm.
Cerena grew up in northeast Ohio and attended The Ohio State University, where she received her undergraduate degree in English. In May 2019, she graduated from the University of Akron School of Law, where she was awarded the CALI Award in Immigration Law and placed on the Dean’s List. She also competed in the NYU Law 2019 National Immigration Law Moot Court Competition. She has interned at the Cleveland Immigration Court for the U.S. Department of Justice, Executive Office for Immigration Review and the Akron International Institute. While in law school, she participated in the University of Akron’s Immigration Legal Clinic, where she gained experience in removal defense before the immigration court and the Board of Immigration Appeals. She was admitted to the Maryland Bar in January 2020 and is authorized to practice before all immigration agencies and courts. She is also a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.