Honoring our Baltimore Pro Bono Attorneys

October 4, 2021

Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) is honoring outstanding pro bono attorneys who are providing vital legal services to refugee and immigrant children. KIND’s pro bono attorneys are at the heart of KIND’s mission and go above and beyond to help unaccompanied children. They play a critical role in ensuring children receive the protections they deserve as they migrate to the U.S. so they can live a life free of fear.

KIND is thrilled to honor our 2021 volunteers and thank them for their service to unaccompanied children. Learn more about the attorneys from our Baltimore offices:

Jennifer Willis

Baltimore KINDness Matters Awardee of the Year

I am a Teacher of the Deaf who was asked to assist in the case of a deaf child seeking asylum after attempts with a formal interpreter were unsuccessful due to the client’s limited language abilities. In the case of this client, who had no access to formal language prior to age 14, language alone was not sufficient at helping her understand her role in the legal process or to tap into her visual memories from a time when she had no means of labeling what she was seeing. Therefore, I had to find a deeper way to try and connect with this client to help her navigate the complexities of the asylum process and tell her captivating story of how she came to the US. Through collaboration and teamwork with a friend who was a certified interpreter with years of experience working with deaf immigrants with limited language abilities, I had the chance to witness the power of language immersion. Immersion is more than simply the passing of a spoken or signed message back and forth to communicate, but rather it is the incorporation of actions, gestures, pictures, drawings, and any other modality possible to help someone understand a message/concept and formulate a response. It was through true language immersion that we were able to capture a remarkable story based solely on what the client had observed visually, or the few simple gestures used by her family members to direct her, in order to create her declaration for asylum. Language is powerful when it creates a shared understanding of the message being conveyed.


Harrison Taylor, Venable LLP

Baltimore Pro Bono Advocate of the Year

Working with my KIND clients has been the most rewarding pro bono experience of my career. Unaccompanied children referred by KIND have experienced remarkable hardships and need motivated advocates to help them navigate an immigration process that would otherwise be inaccessible to them. Having the opportunity to help my clients through this process and seeing the positive impact it has had upon their lives has been incredible.

Cooper Rekrut, Chad Jennings, Erin Eckles, Jasmine Benjamin, Latham & Watkins LLP

Baltimore Pro Bono Team of the Year

Helping my KIND clients obtain legal permanent residency is among the most meaningful achievements of my legal career. Taking SIJS cases through KIND allows me to have a huge, positive impact directly on the lives of local children, many of whom have experienced significant hardship in their young lives. With the help of KIND and the support of Latham & Watkins, I’ve had the enormous pleasure of using my legal skills to give these kids an opportunity they might not have otherwise had, to feel more safe and secure in the country they have made their home.