Pro Bono Attorney Spotlight: Sarah Maguire, BAE Systems

February 4, 2021

February 2021 DC Attorney of the Month

Sarah Maguire, BAE Systems

KIND’s Washington D.C. Office is pleased to recognize Sarah Maguire, from BAE Systems, as Pro Bono of the month for February 2021. Sarah represents a client referred by KIND, seeking both Asylum and Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS). Sarah’s nimble and zealous advocacy in the face of ever-changing logistics during the COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in multiple successes for this client. She was able to carefully prepare her client and obtain both a predicate order from the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court and USCIS approval of her client’s SIJS Petition. Here is what Sarah had to say about her experience with KIND:

When and why did you first take a KIND case?

I took my first KIND case in August 2019.  I have been looking for pro bono opportunities since I went in-house, and KIND’s opportunities for direct representation was perfect.  I was especially grateful to find a matter helping someone directly affected by the former administration’s brutal immigration policies.

What have you learned from this experience or from your client? 

My client is a sweet child who has been through so much.  One thing I learned early is that my client’s traumas make it extremely hard to trust people in positions of authority, including lawyers.  It took a lot of time to get my client to understand that I am not affiliated with the government and am there for them.

What is the most surprising thing you you’ve learned about the U.S. immigration system? 

I am surprised by how arbitrary and difficult it is to navigate, even for an attorney and native English speaker.  I expected bureaucracy; I did not expect to be reduced to frustrated tears after my client’s case got delayed and delayed and delayed.  I simply do not understand how immigrants and asylees manage to navigate this intentionally difficult system on their own.

What would you tell other attorneys to encourage them to take a KIND case?

I strongly encourage people to take a KIND case.  The most core litigation skill people need is interviewing.  KIND has so many resources available that the legal side of things is well traversed.  You can do this; you have the time do this, and you will change your client’s life.

Do you have any advice for a new attorney taking their first pro bono case? 

Lean on the resources that KIND has made available, and plan out your first interview.  Make sure you are taking the time to build trust and build the client relationship.