The American Bar Association (ABA) established the National Celebration of Pro Bono week in 2009 through the ABA’s Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service. Organizations across the country participate in the celebration by hosting events, thanking pro bono attorneys, and creating awareness about current opportunities. The 2020 National Celebration of Pro Bono takes place this week, October 25th through October 30th.
CILA recently celebrated its fifth year anniversary in September 2020, and the ABA featured CILA’s work in the ABA News including CILA’s expansion of pro bono efforts in two ABA articles, CILA expands opportunities to aid immigrant children and CILA expands pro bono opportunities, marks 5th anniversary.
As a capacity-building organization, CILA supports attorneys who work with children in immigration matters. This includes on-the-ground attorneys working at non-profit organizations, pro bono coordinators, and pro bono attorneys. CILA hosts trainings, webinars, and working groups and creates resources to help support attorneys in their work.
Many children have legal relief available that could offer them protection and more security in the United States. The only thing missing is the knowledge and guidance to navigate the system. There is no doubt that appointing a free, specialized attorney to every child in this system is the gold standard. Until that standard is realized, many children need help from attorneys on a pro bono basis to fill this gap and to help them navigate the legal system.
CILA hosts the Pro Bono Matters for Children Facing Deportation platform featuring available cases to work with unaccompanied children. The opportunities are posted to the platform from non-profit organizations across the country. Potential pro bono attorneys can go to the platform and indicate interest in working on a case to help a child. CILA encourages you to look at the opportunities to provide representation to children and youth in immigration matters. Data from Syracuse University’s TRAC tool shows that over half of juveniles do not have representation in pending immigration cases. CILA is committed to working toward expanding representation for children in immigration matters and supporting those representing children.
Additionally, CILA recently participated in a ABA webinar entitled Change a Life, Make an Impact: Immigration Pro Bono Reflections & Opportunities with CILA’s sister projects from the ABA Commission on Immigration, ProBAR and Immigration Justice Project (IJP), to hear from prior IJP and ProBAR volunteers and highlight how to get involved with the projects. The webinar featured CILA’s platform, how it works, and available pro bono opportunities. You can access the recording and materials from the webinar here. And you can learn more about the fearless women lawyers who lead the ABA Commission on Immigration’s projects including CILA’s very own, Dalia Castillo-Granados.
CILA also celebrated pro bono week by sending out CILA’s third edition of the Working Together to Empower Children Facing Deportation newsletter to individuals interested in learning more about pro bono engagement and CILA’s resources. Notably, CILA recently released its Pro Bono Guide in August 2020 to help attorneys who are working with children and youth. The detailed Guide covers a wide range of topics including skills for effective representation such as working with unaccompanied children, trauma-informed lawyering, interviewing tips and strategies, and common forms of legal relief.
This week and always, we want to thank non-profit organization staff in Texas and nationwide for their advocacy and dedication. We also want to recognize the tremendous efforts of pro bono attorneys helping children and youth in immigration cases. We celebrate you as Unaccompanied Children’s Champions! And happy National Celebration of Pro Bono week!
Information for Pro Bono Attorneys
- Find pro bono opportunities on CILA’s Pro Bono Matters for Children Facing Deportation
- Access CILA’s resources on our website and check out CILA’s Pro Bono Guide.
- Add your name to CILA’s quarterly Working Together to Empower Children Facing Deportation newsletter featuring opportunities and resources.
Information for Pro Bono Coordinators
- Join CILA’s national working group Pro Bono Coordination for Child Immigration. The next meeting will take place on November 12th.
- Feel free to use any of CILA’s resources to help train pro bono attorneys in your programs, including CILA’s Pro Bono Guide.
- Check out CILA’s webpage on Creative Models for Pro Bono Engagement.