More than 200 of KIND’s friends and supporters came together in Washington, DC, May 2 to honor Covington & Burling LLP, Nixon Peabody LLP, and Seyfarth Shaw LLP– firms that have provided extraordinary support to unaccompanied children.
“When KIND was founded just over three years ago, we were confident that there were individuals and entities in the community that would gladly step up and join us in this movement to give unaccompanied immigrant and refugee children a voice,” said Brad Smith, KIND Board Co-chair and Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Microsoft. “What we didn’t anticipate is the groundswell of support that would emerge in just a short period of time. This room is filled with so many of KIND’s partners — from the legal, corporate, academic, and philanthropic communities — who volunteer their time to provide children with pro bono counsel. No one role is more important than another – we are all on the same team working on behalf of children.”
Timothy Hester, chair of Covington & Burling’s management committee, Jeffrey Lesk, managing partner of Nixon Peabody’s DC office, and J. Stephen Poor, Seyfarth Shaw’s chair and managing partner accepted the awards for their firms.
After receiving KIND’s 2012 Allegiance Award, Hester said that when Covington & Burling first heard that children face immigration court alone, the firm’s first question was, “How can this be?” Our second question, Hester said, was, “How can we help?”
Lesk commented that everyone in the room has a child in their lives who they care about, and would never want that young person to be in a courtroom alone facing a government in an adversarial proceeding. He said he could only imagine how scary this could be for a child who has already been traumatized, persecuted, or abandoned.
Seyfarth Shaw’s Poor said he was honored that KIND trusted his firm to apply its SeyfarthLean client service model to KIND’s pro bono model. If the firm’s efforts have benefited at least one accompanied child, Poor said, we are thankful to have helped KIND.
Smith closed the evening, telling KIND supporters, “In an industry where time is money, hundreds of lawyers have volunteered to work on KIND cases, resulting in thousands of hours that have changed the trajectory of the lives of thousands of unaccompanied children. This is a testament to your commitment and your passion towards KIND’s mission. For this we are extremely thankful for your partnership.”