KIND’s New York office is pleased to recognize Thomas Yee, Bryan Johnson, and Mitch Hadley of Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear LLP for our October Pro Bono Attorney Spotlight. As a team, Thomas, Bryan, and Mitch have dedicated many hours to their representation of their two young sibling clients. Thomas, Bryan, and Mitch provided the below reflections on their work with KIND so far.
When did you first take a KIND case?
Knobbe Martens opened its New York office in the summer of 2017. As an office, we decided that one or our areas of focus should be pro bono work, and we began asking for referrals for pro bono organizations with which to partner. We met with KIND in the spring of 2018 and felt it was a great fit. We felt it was important to help children in need and were grateful for the help and support provided by KIND. Our first cases—helping two young girls who traveled to the US unaccompanied—are still ongoing, but we are making great progress.
What have you learned from this experience or from your KIND client(s)?
This experience has taught us so much. We specialize in intellectual property and technology law, so immigration law was wholly new to us. It has been fun, exciting, and challenging to learn this new area of law. In addition to learning immigration law, our KIND cases have taught us a lot about working with clients. This was our first experience with clients who are children. While this does present some challenges, it is very rewarding. Also, we are slowly but surely learning a little Spanish.
What is the most surprising thing that you’ve learned about the U.S. immigration system?
The US immigration system is complicated. In our cases, we have already appeared in federal immigration court and Queens County family court, and will still need to work with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services before we are through. We do not see how children would be able to navigate all of this on their own.
What would you tell other attorneys to encourage them to take a KIND case?
This work can be very rewarding, especially if you generally work with corporate clients and businesses. These cases are deeply personal with real life stakes. We would encourage all who are able to participate.
Do you have any advice for attorneys who may be taking their first pro bono case?
KIND’s resources and availability to work with and support us throughout the process have been invaluable. Our KIND mentor, Emily Norman, has been extremely helpful. We would advise other attorneys taking their first case to take advantage of the help and support KIND offers—it helps a lot!