This summer, KIND launched our first ever 4 by the 4th campaign to encourage law firms and corporations to take on four new children’s cases by July 4th. The campaign launched during a joint symposium with Troutman Sanders LLP. Robert Schaffer, NY Chair of Troutman Sanders Pro Bono Committee stated, “Troutman Sanders has been committed to KIND for many years. Keeping in mind that ‘There’s no place like home,’ and ‘You can’t have too much of a good thing,’ the firm continues to take on pro bono cases for immigrant children. There is perhaps no more rewarding job for a lawyer than bringing families together, so KIND’s ‘challenge’ is well worth the effort.”
We engaged in the six-week campaign because the majority of unaccompanied children still do not have attorneys to represent them in their deportation proceedings. We knew we could count on our supporters to help make further progress toward ensuring that as many children as possible have representation.
We were right. All across the U.S., our partners stepped up and met this challenge. Some far exceeded it. The result: 47 more children will have an attorney by their side in immigration court to help them present their claim for U.S. protection.
In Boston, Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP & EMC Corporation teamed up and took six new cases. Michael Wylie, Counsel for EMC stated, “We were struck by the sheer number of unaccompanied children facing removal proceedings in immigration court without counsel, and the daunting odds they face without an attorney on their side. It’s difficult to think of any area where legal representation is more important or impactful.”
Also in Boston, Pierce Atwood LLP exceeded the challenge taking on five additional cases. As Christopher Little explained, “Throughout its 120-year history, Pierce Atwood has had a firm wide commitment to pro bono work and community service. We believe it is our responsibility, both as lawyers as well as members of an extended community, to help those less fortunate. With support from attorneys firm wide, we were confident we could rise to KIND’s 4 by the 4th challenge. We are happy to help five more unaccompanied children who need legal advocacy.”
Holland & Knight LLP has been a huge supporter of KIND throughout the years and quickly agreed to meet the challenge in New York City. Partner and firm-wide Pro Bono Coordinator Stacey Wang, and Chris Nolan, partner and KIND pro bono attorney, made sure their firm’s attorneys and summer associates took a case this summer. Stacey explained, “Chris saw the campaign in New York and made things happen. We have a pretty established network of attorneys in Holland & Knight to take on these KIND cases. So attorneys who were thinking about taking a case thought it was a great opportunity to get involved. We also got our summer associates involved – five summer associates in the NY office and are assigned to each of the cases. This is good for the lawyers here and great for the summer associates to learn early on the value of pro bono at Holland & Knight.”
One firm took on two cases in New York and two in Los Angeles, O’Melveny & Myers LLP, (OMM). Jerri Schick, Pro Bono Counsel for OMM stated, “When KIND put out its ‘4 by the 4th’ challenge, O’Melveny was quick to answer the call. O’Melveny attorneys have been representing a steady stream of unaccompanied minors as they flee abusive, violent circumstances and cross the US-Mexico border in an attempt to seek refuge. We are deeply committed to helping this brave and resilient, yet incredibly vulnerable population of children for whom legal representation can make all of the difference. It may very well save many of their lives.”
Milbank LLP in Los Angeles nearly doubled the campaign’s ask and took seven new cases. Linda Dakin-Grimm, Partner at Milbank explained, “We at Milbank-LA are absolutely delighted to be working with KIND. We took on seven children at the beginning of the summer, and it has been humbling and inspiring for all of us to meet them and walk their immigration journey with them. Our Milbank group is made of partners and associates, and we have been assisted over the summer by our summer associates, all of whom volunteered to assist with the KIND kids. At the end of the program, the local students asked if they could continue to work with Milbank on the cases while they are in school. KIND’s training and mentorship approach is excellent and gives us the direction we need to pursue relief for the children.”
Paul Hastings LLP also met the challenge in Los Angeles, ensuring four more children have access to legal representation. Jennifer Baldocchi, partner and Los Angeles pro bono chair, stated “When KIND issued their ‘4 by the 4th’ challenge, Paul Hastings was more than happy to answer the call. The need is so great right now, and we are happy to help any way that we can. Our KIND clients are always some of our favorites, with inspiring stories of courage and perseverance, and we are happy to help them start their new lives in the United States.”
KIND’s Newark office also saw an increase in support from Wyndham Worldwide. Wyndham Group Vice President of Litigation Marc Merriweather said, “One of Wyndham’s core values are to support our communities, so we’re happy to have met the challenge. KIND has been an important partner with Wyndham since 2011 and KIND’s challenge pushed us into double digits as we are now up to 12 clients. As a hospitality company, it is important to Wyndham to give back and for those of us who have worked on KIND cases know, we benefit from the representation as much as our clients.”
The Microsoft Corporation also made a huge impact in the campaign and members of Microsoft’s Legal and Corporate Affairs Department rose to the call of the 4 by the 4th Campaign by volunteering to represent six additional cases. Beth Henderson, Chair of the Pro Bono Steering Committee, states, “Many employees of Microsoft’s Legal and Corporate Affairs Department have represented KIND children over the years. We see the kids’ lives transform through the representation and at the same time our pro bono volunteers learn tremendous life lessons from the kids. When the Campaign for 4 by the 4th was announced, we jumped in to take on additional cases.”
Perkins Coie in Seattle also met the challenge and increased their pro bono capacity by taking on four additional cases.
KIND is deeply grateful to those who met our challenge. Thanks to you, 47 more children will have a fair chance to make their case in immigration court, and children with viable claims will not face almost certain return to situations where their lives are at risk.
By meeting KIND’s challenge by July 4, these firms and corporations are also helping to uphold the values upon which this country was built—a wonderful way to celebrate our nation’s birthday.