Pro Bono Attorneys Assist More than 80 Haitians at City Bar Justice Center TPS Clinic

Monday, February 15, 2010

  • City Bar Justice Center

Just 13 days after the U.S. government announced Haitians could apply for Temporary Protected Status (“TPS”), the City Bar Justice Center, in partnership with the New York Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (“AILA”) and the Bar Association’s Immigration & Nationality Law Committee, hosted a free legal clinic to help Haitians in New York wade through the TPS application process. Temporary Protected Status allows foreign nationals to stay and work in the U.S. for 18 months.

At the clinic, more than 80 Haitians were guided through the application process. Immigration experts and AILA members provided the initial screening to confirm eligibility and discuss any complicating factors. Pro bono attorneys helped clients to properly fill out the TPS application and fee waiver, and all applications were given a final review by another AILA volunteer. Clients left the clinic with completed applications and fee waivers, a list of any missing documentation, and envelopes preaddressed to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

The clinic would not have been possible without the incredible outpouring of assistance and support from the legal community. More than 100 volunteers from about 40 firms and in-house legal departments helped by sending attorneys, translators, and notaries to the clinic; copying forms; translating documents into Creole and French; and providing other necessary assistance. Hundreds of other attorneys expressed interest in helping Haitians as well, many of whom are volunteering at subsequent clinics held at other organizations in the City.

The Justice Center would also like to thank its co-sponsor, AILA, which provided more than 80 immigration experts representing even more firms.

“Once again the New York legal community has responded in an extraordinary way to emerging needs in the City,” says Carol Bockner, Director of Pro Bono Initiatives at the City Bar Justice Center. “We are extremely grateful for the work of all the volunteers, without whom we could not have assisted so many clients.”
In partnership with the Mayor’s office, the Justice Center, through the New York City Immigrant Advocacy Initiative, will be continuing monthly immigration clinics with a focus on TPS until the end of the eligibility period. The Justice Center also plans to hold another large-scale clinic as part of a final push as the 180 day deadline to apply for TPS approaches.

In addition to the firms represented by AILA volunteers, heartfelt thanks goes out to the following firms and corporations that participated in the first clinic: Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP; Baker & McKenzie LLP; Bingham McCutchen LLP; Blank; Rome LLP; Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP; Citi; Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP; Cooley Godward Kronish LLP; Crowell & Moring LLP; Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP; Debevoise & Plimpton LLP; Dechert LLP; Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP; Duane Morris LLP; Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP; Fulbright & Jaworski LLP; Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP; Jackson Lewis LLP; Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman LLP; Kaye Scholer LLP; Kirkland & Ellis LLP; Linklaters LLP; Lovells LLP; Mayer Brown LLP; McDermott Will & Emery LLP; Morrison & Foerster LLP; Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP; Morgan Stanley; Nixon Peabody LLP; Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP; Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP; Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP; Seward & Kissel LLP; Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP; Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP & Affiliates; Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP; Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP; Sullivan & Cromwell LLP; Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP