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Greenberg Traurig Conducts Global Pro Bono Training with the International Refugee Assistance Program

More than 200 attorneys and clients participate

NEW YORK -- Feb. 8, 2017 -- The International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) is conducting a firmwide training program at global law firm Greenberg Traurig, LLP as part of the firm’s award-winning pro bono program. IRAP organizes law students and lawyers to develop and enforce a set of legal and human rights for refugees and displaced persons. More than 200 firm attorneys, as well as clients from throughout 33 of its offices, will participate in the cross-border event.

Today’s program, to be led by IRAP Legal Director Stephen Poellot, will train hundreds of Greenberg Traurig attorneys on how to represent the most vulnerable refugees around the world in applications for Special Immigrant Visas (SIV) to the U.S., first instance refugee applications before the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), appeals of UNHCR adjudications, and requests for reconsideration of USCIS adjudications.

Members of Greenberg Traurig's New York office attend the firmwide pro bono training program.

“The importance of this humanitarian program cannot be overstated,” said Caroline J. Heller, chair of Greenberg Traurig’s Global Pro Bono Program and litigation shareholder in the firm’s New York City office. “The type of refugee represented in a typical case include: survivors of sexual and gender-based violence, interpreters, and other U.S. allies being hunted down by local extremists, LGBTI individuals, persecuted religious minorities, and children with medical emergencies. Representation of these most vulnerable individuals aligns with our firm’s pro bono focus. We are proud to be able to offer this training and of the response from our colleagues.”

Greenberg Traurig strongly encourages all of its attorneys to give personally of themselves by providing pro bono legal representation to people of limited means and organizations whose mission is to address the needs of the underprivileged. In handling pro bono matters, Greenberg Traurig works with numerous organizations around the United States, including Advocates for Children of New York, Inc., Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Her Justice (Network for Women’s Services), Children and Family Justice Center, Just Neighbors Immigrant Ministry, Center for Community Change, University of Miami School of Law’s Children and Youth Law Clinic, Legal Counsel for the Elderly, D.C. Employment Justice Center, ABA Death Penalty Representation Project, and the Archdiocesan Legal Network.

Maryam Kassaee, Staff Attorney, Immigration Advocacy Project, Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County; Jennifer Greenwald, Sr. Counsel – Contracts -- Otis Elevator Company and UTC Climate, Controls & Security;  Dwinette Johnson,   Sr. Counsel – Contracts -- Otis Elevator Company and UTC Climate, Controls & Security; Associate Lindsay Macdonald; Associate Charles Abrams; and Of Counsel Brian Pantaleo attend the pro bono training program in Greenberg Traurig's West Palm Beach office.

Most recently, the firm received the Hope Award for its long-standing pro bono and financial support of The Center of Hope (Haiti), Inc., related to the creation and operation of the orphanage and elementary school; was honored by Equal Justice Works for its historic program participation; received the Common Good Award from Big Brothers Big Sisters of America; and was presented with the Allegiance Award from Kids in Need of Defense.

Current pro bono projects focus around the following:

  • Death Penalty;
  • Family Court: custody, visitation, child support, orders of protection;
  • Immigration: Violence Against Women Act petitions, Special Immigrant Juvenile, Status petitions, Asylum petitions;
  • Children: Special Education advocacy, children in the foster care system, adoptions;
  • Defense for indigent clients in misdemeanor cases;
  • Veterans: benefits claims;
  • Non-profits: real estate, corporate transactions; and
  • Amici Curiae in Federal Courts and the United States Supreme Court.

About Greenberg Traurig’s Pro Bono Program

Greenberg Traurig lawyers across the firm’s offices provide pro bono legal services to the indigent and working poor, as well as to numerous civic and charitable organizations dedicated to assisting them. The firm focuses its resources on specialized and interrelated issues including civil rights and affirmative action, anti-human trafficking, family law matters, criminal appeals, immigration and political asylum, housing and homelessness.

About Greenberg Traurig, LLP

Greenberg Traurig, LLP (GTLaw) has more than 2,000 attorneys in 38 offices in the United States, Latin America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East and is celebrating its 50th anniversary. One firm worldwide, GTLaw has been recognized for its philanthropic giving, was named the second largest firm in the U.S. by Law360 in 2016, and among the Top 20 on the 2016 Am Law Global 100. Web: Twitter: @GT_Law.