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The Legal Aid Society and Law Firm Partners Assist Almost 700 "Dreamers" in Filing for Employment Authorization

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

  • Organization: The Legal Aid Society
  • Source: New York

In response to the Federal Government’s announcement that it would provide Deferred Action and Employment Authorization (“DACA”) to qualified young people, The Legal Aid Society’s Immigration Law Unit has taken the lead in the outreach effort to provide “DREAMERS” with application assistance. Law firm volunteers, community partners and law students all have contributed to the Society’s initiative to provide advice and assistance to these deserving young immigrants. Probono.net has lent its technical expertise to the effort by hosting the Society’s DACA Webinar, which has been viewed by more than 900 potential volunteers.

Legal Aid’s Immigration Law Unit is able to provide these services because the Society does not accept federal Legal Services Corporation funding, which places limits on assistance for immigrants. Additionally, since DACA qualifications intersect with the criminal justice system, the Society’s Criminal Defense Practice enhances Legal Aid’s ability to provide comprehensive assistance. The staff’s capacity to assist the thousands of young people eligible for DACA has been augmented by 130 law firm volunteers and 152 law students and community partners. Pro bono assistance has enabled The Legal Aid Society to assist nearly 700 young people at the 10 application assistance clinics held at its Brooklyn Neighborhood Civil Office and the 4 clinics held in conjunction with community partners: City University of New York (CUNY)/Hunter College, the Mexican Consulate/Little Sisters of the Assumption, and the Borough of Manhattan Community College. Future clinics will be held throughout 2012. 

To ensure that outreach to the “DREAMER” community is as broad as possible, Legal Aid also established a hotline that is staffed largely by volunteers. The hotline, open Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, provides callers with information on basic eligibility for filing DACA applications. Over 25 pro bono attorneys, paralegals, and support staff have staffed the hotline during August and September and have committed to staffing it throughout October.

The following law firms, corporations, law schools, and community partners made exemplary efforts in aiding the The Legal Aid Society with Deferred Action Clinics and Hotlines: Akin Gump; BNY Mellon; Cadwalader, Wikersham & Taft LLP; Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP; Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP; Davis Polk & Wardwell; Debevoise & Plimpton LLP; Dechert LLP; DLA Piper; Duane Morris LLP; Fitzpatrick, Cella, Harper & Scinto; Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP; Hogan Lovells; Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP; Kazowitz, Benson, Torres, Friedman LLP; Kelley Drye & Warren LLP; Kirkland & Ellis LLP; Latham & Watkins LLP; Millbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP; Morrison & Foerster LLP; Nixon Peabody; O’Melveny & Myers LLP; Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP; Patterson, Belknap, Webb & Tyler LLP; Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP; Proskauer Rose LLP; Ropes & Gray LLP; Shearman & Sterling; Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP; Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz; Wilmer, Cutler, Pickering, Hale and Door LLP; Brooklyn Law School; Columbia Law School; CUNY School of Law; Fordham Law School; New York Law School; New York University Law School; New York City Law Department; Immigration Equality; and CUNY Volunteer Corps. The Legal Aid Society also commends the efforts of volunteers from the New York City Pro Bono Center who have stepped forward in this time of need.

For more information on The Legal Aid Society’s Deferred Action Clinics, please visit www.legal-aid.org.  If you are interested in signing up to assist The Legal Aid Society with the Deferred Action Clinics, please contact Emily Bormann, Pro Bono Administrator, at ebormann@legal-aid.org or 212.577.3919.

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