Law Firm to Provide Free Legal Services to Children in U.S. Immigration Proceedings
NEW YORK (April 7, 2014) -- International law firm Greenberg Traurig, LLP has announced a new pro bono initiative involving 150 of its attorneys in seven offices as well as the creation of a full-time fellowship position. Greenberg Traurig is partnering with Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), an organization founded by the Microsoft Corporation and Angelina Jolie, to provide pro bono legal services to unaccompanied children in immigration proceedings. The kickoff training event for GT attorneys will take place on April 8th.
As explained in the just-released GT Pro Bono Spotlight detailing the issue, children without a parent or legal guardian – no matter how young – are not entitled to appointed counsel in immigration proceedings. These children, many victims of abuse and human trafficking, are in great need of legal services. Greenberg Traurig, with 29 offices across the country engaged in pro bono work, is uniquely positioned to champion this issue by taking multiple cases simultaneously across the country.
To launch the partnership, Greenberg Traurig and KIND are conducting training on April 8th for Greenberg Traurig lawyers in its New York, New Jersey, Washington DC, Northern Virginia, Houston, Boston, and Los Angeles offices.
In addition to devoting significant pro bono work to this project, Greenberg Traurig is funding a full-time fellowship position at KIND through Equal Justice Works, a non-profit organization that facilitates two-year fellowships for recent law school graduates pursuing careers in public service. This position is part of a broader fellowship program. As of 2014, Greenberg Traurig will have invested approximately $8 million to support 127 Equal Justice Works Fellows from more than 40 cities across the United States. This makes Greenberg Traurig the largest single funder of the Equal Justice Works fellowship program. Starting in the fall of 2014, Equal Justice Works fellow Samantha Rumsey will work at KIND’s New Jersey office where she will play a leading role in this project in addition to taking on a full docket of cases.
“The failure to guarantee counsel to unaccompanied children in immigration proceedings offends due process,” said William C. Silverman, head of Greenberg Traurig’s pro bono program. “Our goal here is not only to help individual children but to take this issue on and make a real impact on a national scale.”
“KIND is enormously grateful for Greenberg Traurig’s dedication to protecting the most vulnerable,” said KIND President Wendy Young. “Through its partnership with KIND, Greenberg Traurig will be changing the lives of hundreds of unaccompanied children in the United States, and in some cases, saving them. We thank Greenberg Traurig for their compassion and their commitment.”