Reflecting on Representing Vulnerable Children – Marie Jonas, Folger Levin

by Alex Pender   on April 3, 2018

Marie Jonas reached out to the KIND office in San Francisco over a year ago to and since then her firm, Folger Levin LLP, have taken on three children’s cases and are helping them through their immigration proceedings. Marie has been a pivotal partner bringing this initiative to her firm. Marie has also taken on a child’s case pro bono on her own.  KIND’s Managing Attorney Katie Annand explained, “Marie has championed KIND at Folger Levin.  She is a passionate, talented and driven advocate always willing to go above and beyond.”

Marie recently spoke at KIND San Francisco’s two-year-anniversary celebration.  Below is some of what she reflected on while working with these children:


In the face of a feeling of devastation and helplessness after November 2016, it was essential for me to find a way to give back, and volunteer my legal skills in a substantial and meaningful way. A friend recommended that I reach out to KIND – and from the first contact they have been supportive, responsive, and thoughtful.

 

The four attorneys from my office who worked on this matter had no prior experience handling immigration matters, so KIND’s level of careful involvement and guidance has been key. My colleagues and I never felt like we are going it alone. Whether it is providing trainings in key areas of the law; arranging meeting space and translators; or providing resources for effectively communicating with victims of trauma – KIND staff have been there for us. 

 

All this support gave us the confidence to take on a case representing two siblings from Mexico. Reading the initial case intake, I already knew these two had lived through more trauma in their brief existence than I likely ever would in all of mine. It was intimidating, but also empowering, because we knew that – with the tools we’d been given through KIND – we would be able to help them.

 

Representing them, providing guidance, support, and building a relationship of trust, has been one of the most personally and professional rewarding experiences of my life. Although our cases are still ongoing, I will never forget the feeling of joy and relief that we shared with our client when she was granted Special Immigrant Juvenile Findings in Probate Court and put under the guardianship of a trusted relative.

 

I am so deeply grateful to KIND for opening the door to me and my firm to take on this life-changing work.

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