In recent years, the complexities of immigration advocacy have dominated headlines and galvanized the legal field. Representing unaccompanied children is a uniquely difficult task due to fear within the immigrant community, mistrust of legal and immigration systems, and challenges like family separation and increased barriers to relief. Children come to the United States fleeing horrific violence, severe abuse, deep poverty, gangs and other unimaginable harm. As the number of unaccompanied minors entering the United States rises, so does the need for quality representation of these children in their immigration cases. Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) recruits child-friendly pro bono attorneys to take on this important casework and KIND’s Washington, D.C. office was fortunate to find Bezalel Stern, Special Counsel at Kelley Drye & Warren LLP.
Maryam Casbarro immigrated to the United States from Ghana with her parents when she was a young girl. She recalls how after her family settled in the Bronx, NY, her parents “regularly engaged in community service and were active in their local African immigrant community.” In particular, Maryam recounts how her parents invited several newly immigrated women who were facing domestic violence in their own homes to stay with her family. “Overhearing the discussions between my mother and these women, I was moved by their experiences,” Maryam said. “Immigrant survivors can feel even more vulnerable being in a new country and often are unaware of the resources available to them. It didn’t matter how well educated or highly regarded these women may have been in their home countries. When experiencing domestic violence, they needed help.” Maryam’s early exposure to the impact of domestic violence has had a profound impact on her and has guided her pro bono practice as she has forged her professional career.
DC Pro Bono Week 2019 takes place from October 20–26, and will offer lots of opportunities to do pro bono work, learn new pro bono skills, meet other pro bono lawyers, and expand your pro bono horizons. Check out the full schedule of events here.
Washington Council of Lawyers & D.C. Bar Pro Bono Task Force Announce Launch of Family Law Career Development Program
Washington Council of Lawyers and the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Task Force are collaborating to bring a new initiative to family law practitioners in D.C. this September. The Family Law Career Development Program is a 12-month intensive mentoring program for newer family law practitioners. It’s also a way for family law attorneys to give back to their community by providing critical pro bono representation to D.C. families unable to afford a lawyer.
At the core of our mission is our work striving to ensure our legal system treats everyone fairly, regardless of money, position or power. This year, we wanted to find ways to highlight just what access to justice means to our staff, members, and community partners. A common theme emerged: #WCLawyers4Justice.
An Enduring Legacy: The Partnership between Covington & Burling LLP and the Neighborhood Legal Services Program
The Neighborhood Legal Services Program (NLSP) serves disadvantaged communities in Washington D.C. by connecting those in need of legal assistance with free legal services. Thanks to its dedication and its partnering organizations, NLSP has successfully helped hundreds of families obtain justice. But how did NLSP get its start, and who are the key players that have helped it to thrive?
We had a busy summer here at the Washington Council of Lawyers. In addition to some amazing events, we launched our very first virtual #BookClubFriday series. Members sent in suggestions for books they were reading or wanted to read this summer, and in some cases, fun facts about themselves. If you missed these posts, do not fret, we have recapped all of them here, and suggested some other great book lists from which to select your next literary adventure. Thank you to all who participated, and we’ll pick this list back up next summer.