AILA's Pro Bono Newsletter

Pro Bono Newsletter, Fall 2013

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CHAPTER HAPPENINGS: WISCONSIN T WO-PART SERIES Will Your Pro Bono Clinic Pass Muster? Part 1 of 2 by Roland Robert Lenard The Wisconsin AILA Chapter has been busy in 2013 with its various pro bono initiatives. Following the mass shooting at the Sikh Temple in suburban Milwaukee in August 2012, AILA volunteer attorneys have given generously of their time to assist victims and their family members in maintaining or obtaining lawful status. AILA attorneys have screened victims for possible U and R visa status and handled those cases. AILA attorneys also have sought extensions of B-2 authorized stay for family members, including spouses and children of the victims, who came to the United States after the shooting. These AILA volunteers have coordinated closely with the United States Attorney's Office, which specifically recognized the extensive pro bono contributions of the Wisconsin AILA Chapter. The Chapter has also been active with DACA. In addition to public outreach by the Chapter's volunteers, one Chapter member has helped a large church in a town near Milwaukee with a large immigrant population establish James Place, a nonprofit legal clinic that screens DACA and other types of immigration cases. In addition to these special pro bono initiatives, the Wisconsin Chapter continues to work in partnership with Catholic Charities, which refers individuals needing pro bono representation for VAWA, U visa and asylum cases. Second, in conjunction with the Marquette University Law School in Milwaukee, the Wisconsin Chapter has staffed the Marquette Volunteer Legal Clinic, a weekly walk-in clinic that provides information and screening on a variety of legal areas, to assist with immigration issues. Several of the AILA attorneys who volunteer at the weekly clinic also accept pro bono cases that have been screened through the clinic. —Anita Sorensen, Pro Bono Liaison, Wisconsin Chapter O ver the course of the next two issues, the Pro Bono Newsletter will present practical advice for designing an effective pro bono legal immigration clinic that not only satisfies clients and volunteers but also the rules of professional responsibility in the state where the clinic will take place. Any plan to host a clinic in your state should commence with a review of the state professional responsibility rules. In addition, you should consult with your state ethics board, as it has to approve almost every facet of your clinic. Competence of Volunteers Every state has its own variation of ABA Model Rule 1.1, which requires reasonable competence of lawyers, even if they are volunteering at pro bono events. Are the attorneys you plan to sign-up, or who will volunteer, competent to give advice at your clinic? Here is one way to find out: Prepare a standard form, with a checklist of areas of practice and relevant experience. Require each pro bono attorney to complete the form and make sure to review the completed forms. By using this simple form, you can match a specific client of your clinic to an attorney who is able to give competent advice in the area of law related to the client's legal issue. If none is available, you may not be allowed by your state to serve that particular client at the clinic. Next, make sure the clinic has sufficient legal resources available to the pro bono attorney. Even experienced immigration practitioners often check USCIS forms and instructions and treatises such as Kurzban's. Likewise, state law practitioners may need relevant state code sections, particularly those addressing state immigration measures. Unauthorized Practice of Law Many but not all states have adopted some form of ABA Model Rule 5.5(d)(2): Unauthorized Practice of Law (UPL); Multijurisdictional Practice of Law (MJP). The rule allows attorneys licensed in State A to have an office in State B, if (1) they are duly licensed in any state, and (2) they limit their practice in State B to federal law only. If your state has not adopted the rule, you may not be able to have immigration attorneys licensed out-of-state participate at your pro bono clinic. What's worse, even those states that have adopted this rule may not permit pro bono participation at your clinic. As a result, your state should be consulted and, if possible, render a formal opinion before you begin your clinic. If your state has adopted the rule, and a lawyer licensed in State A can participate in a pro bono immigration clinic in State B, how will that clinic address the needs of a client with state law issues that impact federal immigration law (e.g. State B criminal convictions)? Or what if the client's issue concerns a State B immigration law statute that has no federal counterpart? CONTINUED on pg.6 >> 5

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