Why did you first take a KIND case?
Michael: I believe strongly that the United States owes its modern dynamism, openness, and diversity to the influence of immigration throughout its history. The mission of KIND, providing legal services to those entrants to the U.S. who are most vulnerable and in need of representation, is one that I find laudable and hope to help advance through my own contributions.
Matthew: Helping the most vulnerable in our society—children who had done nothing wrong and who could benefit from my working with them—is just the right thing to do. KIND made the process of getting up to speed easy for me and was highly recommended by my colleagues. To me, it was an easy decision to take on a case.
What have you learned from this experience or from your client?
Michael: I have come to appreciate the importance to immigrants of having legal representation in navigating the complex and often confusing processes of the American immigration system. Having representation is indispensable, especially for the population of unaccompanied minors, and makes the critical difference in achieving a successful outcome.
What is the most surprising thing you you’ve learned about the U.S. immigration system?
Matthew: It is remarkable how essential representation is to those who are going through the U.S. immigration system. The likelihood of a successful outcome for someone moving their way through the immigration system increases dramatically if they are represented by competent counsel. I think it demonstrates how important KIND’s mission really is and what a difference pro bono counsel can make for children in removal proceedings.
What would you tell other attorneys to encourage them to take a KIND case?
Michael: …By simply agreeing to take on even a single case, they can do more concrete good for another person than is possible in most other areas of law.
Do you have any advice for a new attorney taking their first pro bono case?
Michael: KIND will make it easy for you. Do not be intimidated by an unfamiliar area of law—you can get up to speed on it quickly. Try to work together with a community of KIND lawyers and that will make the job easier. Through collaboration you will learn the tricks of the trade—when to get to court, how to handle logistical issues, what to say to the clerks—and that will make you that much more effective. Often the biggest challenges are not going to be questions of law, but questions of logistics and local practice.