Immigration Law

Leaders from 34 BigLaw firms call for an 'army of lawyers' to help immigrants and make a pledge

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Corrected: Leaders from 34 major U.S. law firms have pledged to help reunify families separated after crossing the border and help make sure people who have legitimate claims to asylum have legal representation.

“As a group, we cannot stand by as our government, under the pretext of enforcing the law, violates it and traumatizes children and their parents in the process,” according to a New York Times op-ed by two of those law firm leaders. “We call upon the administration to develop an immediate plan for reunifying children with their families, to release families who pose no threat to our country and to terminate the policy of criminally prosecuting asylum seekers.”

The op-ed authors are Brad Karp, chairman of Paul Weiss; and Gary Wingens, chairman and managing partner of Lowenstein Sandler.

“This crisis requires an army of lawyers to untangle because the immigration courts are flooded and detention centers across the country are bursting,” they write. “The world is watching, and the private bar is mobilizing to serve the thousands who have been imperiled by the Trump administration—and to ensure that the rule of law is protected as well.”

The “outpouring of volunteerism” by the law firms, which employ about 30,000 lawyers, “depends on strong partnerships with the legal services entities on the front lines,” Karp and Wingens say. They provide two examples.

Paul Weiss has sent a team of lawyers to represent parents detained near the border in Texas, and is working with the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services. Lowenstein Sandler is working with the Vera Institute and the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights to help secure counsel for young children being held in New York state and advising lawyers of their ethical representations when representing the children.

See also: “Lawyers for Good Government launches project to reunite immigrant families”

Updated June 27 to state that leaders from 34 BigLaw firms signed the pledge.

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