Pro Bono program
Free Legal Services
Welcome to our Pro Bono program page. Pro bono is an old Latin phrase that means “for the public good.” Lawyers have a special obligation to promote and protect the public good. We are proud to announce that since our founding, we have provided more than a quarter of a million dollars in free legal services.
There are a couple of things to know about our Pro Bono program. First, we don’t view pro bono as charity. Instead, we think of pro bono service as promoting and protecting the public good. We are, after all, essentially human rights lawyers who focus on ending both unjust deportations and unnecessary family separation.
Second, pro bono work helps our attorneys become better lawyers. Our pro bono cases are often the most challenging, complex and rewarding cases our firm handles. Our pro bono work teaches us many things.
How It Works
Each year, we allocate resources for our Pro Bono docket. The amount of resources varies year to year and depends on many factors. We also establish priority areas for cases that help us direct our pro bono resources. For example, we might select particular case types or focus on assisting people from a particular refugee-region. In some situations, we publish our priorities to inform the public about our program. We have established some partnerships with other organizations to help us in our pro bono program. These organizations may aid with funding, screening, and outreach.
We screen every individual seeking assistance for our pro bono program. No separate application is required. In fact, we do not have a separate application. In our screening process we look at several factors: the case type, the legal questions presented, the possibility of creating a positive result for the larger community, ability to pay for services, the involvement of allied organizations in providing services to an individual among other things. We match the factors with our priorities and if there is a match and if there are resources available in the pro bono docket, we will accept the case pro bono. Our most successful pro bono cases have involved setting important precedent that protects the immigrant community regionally and nationally.
We charge a fee for pro bono screening – it is our standard consultation fee. Isn’t that counterintuitive, many people ask us, to charge a fee to see if you will handle a case for free? Not really. Our objective experience has been that the nominal fee for the screening improves the pro bono program in several ways. One, it strengthens an individual’s commitment to the screening process. Two, it encourages active and open participation in assembling the needed information. Finally, it supports the program by permitting us to screen every case for pro bono services within our standard processes which saves us resources that we can invest in the pro bono program. We seldom waive the screening fee, but we give due consideration when allied organizations make written referrals seeking pro bono assistance.
DACA Assistance For Immigrant Youth Activists
We have allocated resources to represent immigrant youth leaders with DACA applications as part of our DACA Campaign for Immigrant Youth. If you are engaged full-time in community activism on immigrant organizing, the immigrant youth movement, progressive community organizing, or labor organizing, you may be eligible for our pro bono services. If you believe you might be eligible, send an email explaining why to firstname.lastname@example.org.