Skip to content
Graphic: Poverty Law & Immigration & Human Rights panels

2021 Summer Forum Preview: Immigration & Human Rights Panel

by Nicole Portnov

The 2021 annual Summer Forum Human Rights & Immigration panel features a discussion of the challenges facing human rights and immigration practitioners during the Covid-19 pandemic in DC and across the country. Under normal circumstances, there are often significant barriers for immigration and human rights practitioners to navigate when their clients are detained. As in many areas of legal practice, the pandemic has created new hurdles and exacerbated those that already exist for practitioners in these fields. These practical challenges, language barriers, and the vulnerability of immigrants and other marginalized populations make pro bono representation vital in these cases.

This panel presents an opportunity for law students, recent graduates, and new lawyers to learn how to advocate for immigrants across diverse practice areas. It also provides a look at some of the avenues for pro bono and volunteer work as well as a view of the practical and legal issues that attorneys and clients in this area face.

Our panelists are:

Michael Lukens, CAIR Coalition (moderator)

Michael joined CAIR Coalition in 2014. As Associate Director, he is responsible for the oversight of the screening, placement, and mentoring of pro bono cases with members of the private bar. Michael serves as the CAIR Coalition liaison to law firms and the broader non-profit community, as well as directly represents children in removal proceedings.  He also oversees all aspects of CAIR Coalition’s operations.

Sam Hsieh, CAIR Coalition

As a Senior Attorney and Coordinating Legal Liaison with CAIR Coalition’s Immigration Impact Lab, Sam has worked on impact litigation on behalf of detained immigrant adults and children in immigration proceedings and in federal courts.

Laurie Ball Cooper, Ayuda

As Ayuda’s legal director, Laurie provides leadership, vision, and support to Ayuda’s legal services teams across offices and practice areas. Laurie has represented immigrants and survivors of trauma in many capacities throughout her career, including as a senior staff attorney at Ayuda, as a Skadden Fellow at the Tahirih Justice Center, at the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia, and in the human rights practice group at the private law firm Cohen, Milstein, Sellers & Toll. 

Amber Qureshi, National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild

At the National Immigration Project, Amber (pronounced UM-BER) works on immigration enforcement issues, particularly those that impact low-income Muslim, Arab, and South Asian (MASA) communities. She is a 2019 JD graduate of Yale Law School, where she studied and worked on issues related to immigration, Muslim civil rights, and international human rights law. Before law school, Amber was a high school math teacher in Baltimore, MD.

David Friedland, Beveridge & Diamond

As a Principal at Beveridge & Diamond, David’s practice centers on regulatory compliance counseling and environmental litigation. On the regulatory side, he has helped companies and trade associations prepare comments on scores of proposed environmental rules. Once the rules are in place, he counsels a wide range of companies on compliance. David has chaired the firm’s Air & Climate Change Practice Group and the firm’s Environmental Practice Group. He formerly served as chair of the Air Quality Committee of the ABA’s Section on Environment, Energy and Resources.

Check out the schedule for all the Summer Forum practice-area panels, and register to attend, here.

Look for updates and join the conversation about the Summer Forum using #SumFo21 on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn!

Nicole Portnov is a member of the Washington Council of Lawyers Special Events & Fundraising Committee.

Back To Top