Seattle, WA – As it prepares to mark the 12th annual National Celebration of Pro Bono at the end of October, Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) today announced it is honoring outstanding pro bono attorneys in Seattle who are providing vital legal services to refugee and immigrant children who come alone to the United States in search of safety. These attorneys, who serve as the heart of KIND’s mission, are volunteers who go above and beyond to help these children make their case for U.S. protection.
Children who come to KIND are among the most vulnerable in our society. Many have fled life-threatening violence, including gang and narco-violence in their home countries in Central America, and come to the United States in hopes of finding safety. They are not provided an attorney in their removal proceedings; without counsel, it is nearly impossible for them to navigate the U.S. immigration system.
“I could not be more pleased to honor our volunteers who truly live KIND’s mission – to protect unaccompanied children in their journey to safety,” said KIND President Wendy Young. “KIND’s volunteers are these children’s lifeline, providing legal assistance, interpretation, and other crucial support, as well as simply being a trusted and caring adult in the child’s life. These children have been through so much in their young lives, many fleeing violence and other danger, and KIND’s volunteers stand with them to help them access the protection they so need and deserve.”
Last year, KIND received over 175,000 hours and $103 million in pro bono legal services, bringing its total for pro bono services to more than 880,000 hours and $475 million in pro bono services since 2009. KIND’s pro bono legal volunteers do not need immigration experience. The organization provides expert training and mentorship for the duration of the cases. Attorneys who volunteer with KIND work directly with our child clients and gain valuable courtroom experience among other skills. Nearly all say that the most valuable part of their experience was getting to know the child clients and helping to change the trajectory of the child’s life.
KIND is thrilled to honor our 2020 volunteers in Seattle and thank them for their service to unaccompanied children:
Breck Wilmot and Jane Eckels, Davis Wright Tremaine, LLP; John Donovan and Dennis Wallace, Amazon; and Archita Taylor, Betts, Patterson & Mines, P.S.
This legal team successfully advocated for their client, who recently received an approval for a T visa. The client was identified as a child victim of human trafficking and received protections under the law. The team worked diligently to develop rapport with the client to gather her story in a trauma-informed manner. Their stellar advocacy has helped result in long term stability for this child.
“We are thrilled that our client has obtained much-deserved relief! We are thankful for the tremendous support from KIND in our client’s case and are proud to have provided a helping hand in the important work KIND does protecting the rights of vulnerable children in our community.” – Jane Eckels and Breck Wilmot
“Hands down, the best part about volunteering with KIND was getting to know our client and learn her story. Her resilience and bravery, despite every obstacle she faced, is inspiring and a testament to how immigrants enrich our country.” – Archita Taylor
“At KIND, I’ve had the good fortune to work with an incredibly talented and committed group of pro bono lawyers and a fantastic staff mentor, Melody Young. The case we’ve worked on together has truly been a team effort. And our client is a profile in courage. There were times I stood by her in court when I’m certain I was more nervous than her! It’s been an inspiring and educational journey.” – John Donovan
Marc Boman, Jacob Dini, and Kiran Griffith, Perkins Coie, LLP
This legal team has gone above and beyond for a family of three, who were separated at the border during the height of the family separation crisis. As they continue to work on the legal side of their immigration relief, they also connected the family with social services and community resources, including signing up the family for benefits, navigating unemployment during COVID, and addressing medical and mental health needs and adjustment barriers in the United States. They also filed a federal claim on their clients’ behalf to ensure that they receive some justice for the irreparable harm they suffered.
“We are inspired by our client’s strength in persevering in the face of deplorable treatment by U.S. immigration officials who separated her from her daughters at the border. We were moved by her tears upon being presented with a work authorization card so that she could begin to earn a living in America and we feel honored to continue to represent her and her family.” -Marc Boman, Jacob Dini, and Kiran Griffith
KIND’s presented its national 2020 awards to DLA Piper, Jones Day, and JP Morgan Chase. As dedicated KIND pro bono partners, these honorees have demonstrated in a variety of ways their extraordinary commitment to ensuring that unaccompanied children have a fair chance to make their case and are not returned to the very danger from which they fled.
Media Contact: Megan McKenna, email@example.com, 202-631-9990