AILA's Pro Bono Newsletter

Pro Bono Newsletter, Summer 2011

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New England Recognizes Successes, Wanda Luettgen By Deirdre M. Giblin A ILA New England’s pro bono committee has had a busy few years with its successful new AILA/ PAIR/EOIR Pro Bono program, headline-grabbing news of the raid on the Bianco leather factory in New Bedford, Massachusetts, and increase of over 10 percent statewide in its immigrant population. But pro bono training and mentorship has long roots in the community, notably at Community Legal Services and Counseling Center (CLSACC, formerly known as Cambridgeport Problem Center) in Cambridge, MA, which celebrated its 40th anniversary this past year. CLSACC’s unique pro bono model has been successful in providing legal services and counseling services through volunteer professionals for four decades and has “graduated” many notable attorneys who have gone on become Immigration Judges and law professors. CLSACC’s staff attorney, Deirdre Giblin, is also Co-Chair of AILA New England’s Pro Bono Committee. She provides up to a dozen trainings a year, and personally mentors over 2 dozen volunteers annually. During CLSACC’s anniversary year celebration, the agency spotlighted one of their stand-out pro bono lawyers, Wanda Luettgen. Ms. Luettgen had taken a break from a large law firm practice to raise a family, and sought pro bono oppor- tunities that would include one-on-one mentoring in the immigration field—an area of practice she had nev- CITIZENSHIP DAY: NEW ENGLAND Luettgen er worked in before. She started volunteering in CLSACC’s Intake Project which provides in-person advice from an attorney (1 hour), an in-depth interveiw with a trained volunteer (4-8 hours), research and a case write-up (4 hours), and placement of the case for representation in-house or with the Political Asylum/Refugee Representation Project (PAIR) and area law school clinics at Harvard, Boston University and Boston College. CLSACC’s In- take Project assists up to 100 asylum seekers annually. The Immigration Project provides legal assistance and case representation to over 300 clients annually, and has seen a 20% increase in demand for services in the past year alone. In addition to intake, Ms. Luettgen has assisted in dozens of full-representation cases, and recently took on an asylum case solo, representing a woman from East Africa. Speaking of her pro bono work, she says, “My work at CLSACC is the most satisfying professional expe- rience I have had to date. The types of cases I have worked on have involved some of the most vulnerable clients anyone could imagine. The care and compas- sion that these clients need is not what I had been exposed to in my previous legal experience. Yet, the mentors I have at CLSACC have not only demon- strated the utmost professionalism in training me to do asylum work, but they have taught me that allow- ing compassion and dignity to co-exist within the legal COPYRIGHT © 2011 AMERICAN IMMIGRATION LAWYERS ASSOCIATION. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. NO PART OF THIS PUBLICATION MAY BE REPRINTED OR OTHERWISE REPRODUCED WITHOUT THE EXPRESS PERMISSION OF THE PUBLISHER. SEND REPRINT REQUESTS TO PUBS@AILA.ORG The AILA New England Chapter held a Citizenship Clinic on April 30, 2011 at SEIU in Boston, Massachusetts. Over 15 AILA New England volunteer attorneys assisted par- ticipants free of charge. Volunteers from the New England Chapter of the Human Rights Campaign generously do- nated their time and helped to distribute materials, provide translation services and organize participants. Participants were provided one-on-one intake with volunteer AILA at- torneys on the day of the clinic. Materials, including USCIS applications and civics exam study guides, were distribut- ed at the clinic and participants had the opportunity to view audio/visual materials relating to the citizenship process. Participants left the clinic grateful for the free resources provided and were satisfied with gaining more knowledge of the citizenship process. process can make a difficult experience less traumatic for the asylum clients we work with.” Deirdre M. Giblin has specialized in refugee and asylum law since 1998. In addition to leadership roles in AILA New England, she is a trainer for the UN Voluntary Fund for Torture Survivors and a member of Amnesty International’s Leadership Circle. FOLLOW AILA ON TWITTER, FACEBOOK, AND LINKEDIN www.aila.org 7

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