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Volunteers are the backbone of the new Court Service Center, and the Court is currently seeking experienced attorneys to lend their time to assist pro se litigants
The Court Service Center at the Edward Brooks Courthouse is seeking experienced volunteer attorneys who are dynamic, self-starting and interested in access to justice issues within the court system. Volunteer attorneys will work directly with self-represented litigants to give neutral legal information about court procedures and applicable laws. Just to be clear, attorneys will not be providing representation, but rather providing litigants with information so they may represent themselves.
This is an excellent opportunity for experienced attorneys to provide assistance to pro se litigants and also provide mentorship to law students and newer attorneys.
Responsibilities may include but are not limited to:
Attorneys with a strong background in probate and family law and housing law are encouraged to volunteer.
To volunteer, please contact Sheriece M. Perry, Esq. at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All volunteer attorneys must complete a CORI check and be eligible to work in the United States.
The post Calling All Experienced Attorneys – The Court Service Center Needs Your Help appeared first on Beyond the Billable.
Lisa Laurel Weinberg, a Political Asylum Attorney at CLSACC, recently traveled to a detention center in New Mexico to assist with women and children’s immigration cases. Photo courtesy of Lisa Marie Oliveira.
Each year the Boston Bar Foundation grants funding to a number of legal service organizations that provide access to justice for those in our community who need it most. With the Adams Benefit fast approaching, Beyond the Billable decided to check in with one of the grantees, Community Legal Services and Counseling Center (CLSACC). It turns out that one of their attorneys has recently traveled to a detention center in New Mexico to assist with women and children’s immigration cases. We reached out to Lisa Laurel Weinberg, a Political Asylum Attorney at CLSACC, to hear more about one of her recent cases. Here’s what she had to say:
What types of cases have you been working on at the Artesia Detention Center?
The Artesia Detention Center is a family detention center. The detainees who are being held there are all mothers with their children. The women are primarily from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. All of the women I spoke to were fleeing from violence. They were primarily fleeing intimate partner violence, gang violence, and in many cases – both. I successfully represented a mother and her 17 year old and 6 month old daughters who were fleeing from severe domestic violence in their political asylum case. They had an individual merits hearing, which is their trial, before a federal immigration judge.
How did you first get involved with these types of cases?
I am a political asylum lawyer at Community Legal Services and Counseling Center (CLSACC). I am also a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). AILA put out a call to its members to request that lawyers go to Artesia on an emergency basis to help the women and children in Artesia. AILA also offered scholarships to encourage lawyers to go. As a legal services attorney, I was awarded one of the scholarships
The Artesia family detention center is in a remote desert town in New Mexico hundreds of miles from the nearest city. Detainees are not permitted to leave, so in effect they were being prevented from obtaining legal counsel. In order for the women to obtain lawyers, lawyers have to go to them. All of the immigration proceedings are held in the detention facility remotely by video teleconferencing before judges from the Executive Office of Immigration Review in Arlington Virginia (this has since been changed to Denver). Before the lawyers started arriving, the women and children were going through immigration proceedings at the Artesia facility without the benefit of legal counsel and many were being deported. Now that they have lawyers that equation has shifted and many are being released either on bond, parole, or with legal immigration status.
Please share a story from your time at the Artesia immigration detention center.
When I arrived in Artesia on Monday September first, one of the cases that I was handed was the case of a woman and her two children who had fled severe domestic violence at the hands of her spouse whose Individual Merits Hearing in their asylum case was going to be held in one week on September 8th. This is the hearing before a federal immigration judge on the merits of her political asylum claim where it is decided whether she has a well-founded fear of persecution on a protected ground and can remain legally in the United States as a refugee. If she was not successful in her claim, she and her children would be ordered removed (deported) from the United States. It was a week away from her hearing and she did not have an attorney to represent her. I met the client (with my colleague from CLSACC paralegal/BIA Accredited representative Karen Bobadilla) the next day and we realized the case submissions had to be put together in two days in order to arrive in Arlington Virginia by the Friday deadline and the client had to be prepared to testify by the following Monday. To put it in context, outside the facility, political asylum cases before an immigration judge can take months or even years to prepare. The isolation of the facility, the forced isolation of the women and children, and the expedited process meant that I could not obtain evidence that is standard in political asylum cases such as evaluations by a doctor and a mental health professional or any affidavits from people who witnessed the abuse. After a 4 hour video hearing in the facility the case was continued because the judge wanted to hear from an expert. We came back to Boston and secured the expert on Domestic Violence in Honduras and two weeks later Ms. Bobadilla and I flew down to Arlington Virginia to finish the case. The expert testified for almost two hours and then after closing arguments the judge granted the case.
If you want to hear more about this case, click here or here.
The post Checking in with CLSACC – A BBF Grantee appeared first on Beyond the Billable.
BBA Summer Jobs Program Olivier Tingue poses with PIC Board Chair Gary Gottlieb (Partners HealthCare System, Inc) after being named a 2014 PIC Achiever. Photo courtesy of the Boston PIC.
If you’ve seen the 2014 BBA Public Service Report, you’re familiar with BBA Summer Jobs Intern Olivier Tingue and Employer Matt McTygue (Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP). We’re not the only ones who think this dynamic duo is pretty fantastic. The Boston Private Industry Council recently named Olivier and Matt 2014 PIC Achievers at their recent Annual Meeting.
Here is what PIC had to say about Matt and Olivier:
“Matt specializes in debt finance and private equity transactions. Olivier emigrated from Haiti following the 2010 earthquake. In March of this year, Olivier was asked to speak alongside Mayor Walsh at an employer appreciation reception. After hearing Olivier, the president of the Boston Bar Association (BBA) asked him if he would like to work in a law firm. Olivier jumped at the opportunity and secured a summer internship at the international law firm of Edwards Wildman. There he met Matt, who also co-chairs the BBA summer jobs program. Under Matt’s watchful eye, Olivier working in various departments within the firm, assisted in a mock trial and interacted with attorneys in special seminars, on court house tours, and during weekly lunches. This fall, Olivier started at Bridgewater State University. He currently plans on pursuing a career in international law. Matt and Olivier represent what can happen when two worlds meet within the context of a professional workplace.”
Click here to read Edwards Wildman’s news article on the award.
Unfortunately Matt was traveling for business and was unable to attend the event, but look below for more images of Olivier at the Annual Meeting:
BBA Summer Jobs Intern Olivier Tingue (center) shows off his PIC Achiever Award with PIC Executive Director Neil Sullivan (left) and PIC Assistant Director Jonathan Rosenthal. Photo courtesy of the Boston PIC.
BBA Summer Jobs Intern Olivier Tingue poses with his mom at the PIC Annual Meeting. Photo courtesy of the Boston PIC.
The post BBA Summer Jobs All-Stars Named 2014 PIC Achievers appeared first on Beyond the Billable.