Outreach Efforts Result in Unprecedented Growth of Houston Pro Bono Attorney Network

Posted April 28, 2011

Since the first quarter of 2010, Houston’s Pro Bono Attorney Network has grown from 83 individual attorneys at 13 law firms to 188 attorneys at 20 firms—an incredible growth of 227%. This increase represents not only the strength of support from the Houston community for Tahirih’s mission of providing justice to immigrant women and girls in need, but also the dedication of Tahirih staff to providing outreach and education on the needs and challenges faced by immigrant women and girls to the Houston community.

Interested in becoming a pro bono attorney?

Contact legal@tahirih.org to join or learn more about Tahirih’s Pro Bono Attorney Network. Our pro bono attorneys work with clients through Tahirih’s Houston, Baltimore, and Washington, DC offices.

During the first three months of 2011, Tahirih staff members have spoken to physicians, medical anthropology students, attorneys, immigration practitioners, business and community leaders, law enforcement, and community health providers at locations from churches, universities and law firms to the YMCA and even a Wine & Debate Society gathering to inform audiences of our work and client base needs. Topics have focused on various elements of Tahirih’s work including a general overview of the unique needs of immigrant women and girls fleeing gender-based violence, working with survivors of trauma and violence, the value of pro bono work, and specific Continuing Legal Education (CLE) trainings on how to administer the particular forms of relief available to women like Tahirih’s clients, such as T visas, U visas, and VAWA self-applications.

The effect of this outreach is not limited to the strong growth of the Houston branch of Tahirih’s Pro Bono Attorney Network or to the approximately two-thirds of Tahirih clients that are represented free of charge by members of that network. These efforts are also reflected in the strengthened Pro Bono Medical Network in Houston, the development of which has been lead by Tahirih’s Advisory Council of Houston members David and Morgan Shin. The medical and mental health professionals in this network provide to Tahirih’s clients the medical care necessary for their health and the forensic evaluations vital to the success of their cases.

Tahirih’s educational outreach and training have raised awareness about the unique needs and struggles of immigrant women and girls in Houston fleeing severe forms of violence. These forums continue to ensure that the public and those working on issues of gender-based violence, such as law enforcement, domestic violence shelters, medical health professionals, and immigration service agencies, are informed and ready to provide a high standard of care to Tahirih’s clients and women in similar circumstances.

Congratulations to Our Victorious Pro Bono Attorneys!

Congratulations to Advisory Council of Houston member Kathleen Weir and Colette Fields of Baker Botts Houston for securing a grant of asylum for our client Hawa* fleeing a forced marriage and female genital mutilation in her home country of Mali. With asylum, Hawa is now able to seek authorization for employment and continue her studies in order to support herself and start a new life safe from the fear of violence in the United States.

Congratulations to Natara Williams of Vinson and Elkins for successfully securing a U Visa for our client Sara* and her two children. Sara was a victim of sexual assault, kidnapping, and trafficking. After the violence she suffered, Sara was willing to extensively cooperate with authorities which has led to the investigation and prosecution of those responsible for her suffering.

Congratulations to Carey Worrell for successfully securing a grant of asylum for our client fleeing a violent marriage in her home country of Cameroon.

Congratulations to Anuj A. Shah of the Law Office of Anuj A. Shah for successfully securing asylum for Tahirih’s client, a young woman fearing a forced marriage and female genital mutilation if she were to return to her home country of Mali.

Congratulations to Advisory Council member Shiva Gill of the Law Office of Shiva Gill for her victory in obtaining deferred action status for our Thai client that was held as a prisoner first by an organized trafficking ring and later by her husband.

*Names have been changed to protect privacy

In Your Houston Community:

Since our last newsletter, Tahirih’s Houston office, which until just recently was comprised of two staff members, has conducted outreach or trainings at the following organizations and events. To see a list of the outreach conducted by all Tahirih offices during this period, see
In Your Community
:

Upcoming Events:

This article is a part of Tahirih’s Spring 2011 newsletter.