10th Anniversary of BIA Pro Bono Representation Project | CLINIC

10th Anniversary of BIA Pro Bono Representation Project

By Allison Posner

On October 24, 2011, CLINIC celebrated the 10th Anniversary of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) Pro Bono Project.  A reception was generously hosted by the law firm Fried Frank with special guests in attendance, including the Honorable Immigration Judge Paul Schmidt, Acting Director of EOIR Juan Osuna, and Acting Chairman of the BIA David Neal.

The BIA Pro Bono Project secures counsel for respondents who had no representation before the BIA.  They either lost their cases before the Immigration Judge or won and are now facing an appeal by the Department of Homeland Security.

In a published study, the Department of Justice found that immigrants who had been provided representation through the Project were up to four times more likely to win a favorable decision before the BIA.  CLINIC has succeeded in securing pro bono representation for nearly 800 respondents around the country – individuals who would not have otherwise had representation. 

Project Coordinator Lauren Sullivan presented certificates of appreciation to the 10 volunteer screeners who devote countless hours every week screening cases for eligibility in the Project.

Also at the reception, CLINIC presented its 2011 Pro Bono award to the Georgetown University Law Center’s Appellate Litigation Center for its longstanding support of the Project.  Along with their students, Professor Steven Goldblatt and his predecessors have represented almost 40 respondents through CLINIC’s Project. Because many of Georgetown’s alumni continue to volunteer after they graduate, the school’s involvement with the Project has had a ripple effect, providing some of our most qualified pro bono counsel.