More than 130 attorneys and 50 staff at Amazon and Davis Wright Tremaine partnered with Kids in Need of Defense, or KIND, to form teams to represent 28 immigrant children seeking to remain in the U.S. due to abuse, abandonment or neglect issues involving their parents. The work earned the company and the firm an Innovations in Pro Bono Award as part of the California Leaders in Tech Law and Innovation Awards. Joanna Boisen, the pro bono counsel at Davis Wright Tremaine, recently told The Recorder how the effort came together.
How did this pro bono project come about?
In summer 2017, Ajay Patel, associate general sounsel at Amazon Studios, contacted Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) and Bet Tzedek about providing legal services to unaccompanied immigrant and refugee children on a large scale in partnership with Davis Wright Tremaine (DWT). Team leaders Patel and Archana Lannin from Amazon Studios and Jill Cohen and Jonathan Segal from DWT worked with KIND and Tzedek to create the impactful and innovative multicity pro bono project in which teams of Amazon and DWT attorneys represent children on Special Immigrant Juvenile Status cases.
Both Amazon and DWT spread information about the project throughout their organizations, recruiting associate general counsel, corporate counsel, partners, associates, contract managers, paralegals and legal assistants in Los Angeles; New York; Newark, New Jersey; San Francisco; Seattle; and Washington, D.C.
The teams met their clients for the first time in December 2017 and have been working diligently on moving the legal process forward, while overcoming some challenges. We are looking forward with great anticipation to great results for all our kids.