September 2011 Volunteer Feature: Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP Pro Bono Removal Defense Program with The Legal Aid Society Provides Model for Pro Bono Partnerships.
Since 2007, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP has provided invaluable pro bono assistance to immigrants by creating a removal defense program in which it co-counsels removal cases in Immigration Court with attorneys from The Legal Aid Society's Immigration Law Unit. Simpson's pro bono clients are eligible for relief from removal, but must prove that they deserve such relief by presenting a comprehensive, detailed account of their lives here in the United States. Simpson pro bono attorneys help with every step of the process. They meet with clients frequently, collect supporting documents, research legal issues that arise, write briefs where necessary, prepare evidentiary packets for submission to court, prepare clients and witnesses to testify and perform direct examinations of clients and support witnesses before an Immigration Judge. To date, in addition to pending cases, Simpson has successfully completed 12 cases - thus enabling 12 immigrants to avoid deportation and stay in the United States with their United States citizen and permanent resident families.
In addition to the substantive work Simpson has done, it has also established a highly effective collaborative model that can be replicated by others. Under the leadership of Simpson partner Paul Gluckow, and senior associate Juan Arteaga, a team of senior associates administer the program - facilitating trainings for new associates each year and maintaining a forms database. These senior associates have previously worked on removal cases and are able to provide guidance to new pro bono associates - reviewing work product and discussing representation issues as they arise. This clear internal review structure develops institutional expertise within Simpson, ensures consistently excellent results and maximizes the resources of the Immigration Law Unit which can then accept more cases for individual representation. The Simpson pro bono model was showcased at a recent colloquium organized by the Katzmann Study Group for Immigration Representation at Cardozo Law School titled "Innovative Approaches to Immigrant Representation: Exploring New Partnerships." The Immigration Law Unit thanks Simpson for its efforts and congratulates the firm on its many successes so far.