Pro Bono Network FAQs
Q: What is Tahirih’s Pro Bono Network?
A: Our pro bono network is made up of nearly 2,000 attorneys in the private sector, mainly at law firms and corporations, who are committed to Tahirih’s mission. Network members volunteer their time and contribute resources and considerable skills to help courageous women and girls.
Q: What are the benefits of joining the network?
A: When you join our Pro Bono Network, you have access to pro bono case opportunities, training and professional development resources, and information about what we do. We often reach out to members of our network for other types of pro bono legal needs, such as advice and counsel on areas outside our practice expertise. If you’d like to learn more about what it’s like to be part of the network, check out our partner profiles. Many members say their pro bono service is life-changing.
Q: If I join the network, do I have to take a case?
A: While there is no obligation to take a case if you are part of the network, we hope you will contribute in any way you can.
Q: How do I find out about current pro bono opportunities?
A: By joining the Pro Bono Network, you receive a periodic newsletter with select case opportunities from the Tahirih office nearest you, and you’ll be part of our network database. Tahirih works with over 300 law firms across the country who are committed to pro bono. As we work closely with pro bono partners and coordinators at those firms, you may also find out about ways to take cases through your firm. Be sure to let your pro bono coordinator know about your case interests. We strongly encourage law firms and pro bono attorneys to reach out to us, so we can look for suitable placement opportunities aligned with your preferences.
Q: What kinds of cases are available for pro bono attorneys?
A: Pro bono attorneys work with immigrant women and girls who are on U.S. soil and eligible for protection under federal immigration law. Tahirih places hundreds of cases with pro-bono attorneys each year. We specialize in and place the following types of cases: gender-based asylum petitions, T visa petitions for trafficking survivors, U visa petitions for survivors of certain serious crimes who cooperate with law enforcement, Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) petitions for domestic violence survivors who are abused by their U.S. citizen or permanent resident partner, and Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) petitions for girls who have been abused, abandoned or neglected. Pro bono attorneys may represent clients before U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services or in immigration court. From time to time we also work with pro bono attorneys in appellate matters and impact litigation.
Q: What experience or skills do I need to have to take a case?
A: Any lawyer who is currently licensed in good standing to practice law in any U.S. jurisdiction can get involved in pro bono. Our pro bono attorneys come from many different legal practice areas, and no previous litigation experience is required. As a pro bono attorney, you have a Tahirih attorney as co-counsel to provide expert mentorship and support. (If you are not an attorney and would like to find out more about other types of volunteering, click here.)
Q: What support does Tahirih provide to pro bono attorneys?
A: A Tahirih attorney is assigned to co-counsel each case with pro bono attorneys. Tahirih provides training, hands-on mentorship, and ongoing technical assistance for the duration of the case. We also provide access to comprehensive practice resources and sample documents to help make sure he or she is fully equipped to handle challenging cases in a fast-changing area of law. Our social services program offers additional support to clients needing help with non-legal needs such as shelter and medical help, so attorneys can focus on the legal aspects of the case. Pro bono attorneys can elect to be covered under Tahirih’s professional liability coverage where not otherwise covered.
Q: How do cases get assigned to pro bono attorneys?
A: Tahirih conducts comprehensive intakes and screenings prior to case acceptance and placement. Placements are made with a client-centered approach, taking into account complexity, timelines, level of client trauma and non-legal needs, alongside pro bono attorney experience levels, resources, and expressed interests. We email a periodic newsletter to our pro bono network featuring select available cases for pro bono placement. On a rolling basis, we match incoming cases with attorneys and firms in our pro bono network where there is a good fit. We place a high number of pro bono cases at firm level, by working in collaboration with pro bono partners and coordinators.
Q: Once I join the network, how quickly will I receive a case?
A: How quickly a pro bono attorney or firm receives a case can vary. We strongly encourage pro bono attorneys and firms to contact us with case interests so we can facilitate placements. We can provide you information about currently available cases, or arrange to contact you when we have a suitable case matching your interests.
Q: How much time will a pro bono case take?
A: The length of time you work on a case is dependent on a wide range of variables, including the case type and complexity, and a range of external factors that impact the procedural timeline, such as current case processing times for petitions before the USCIS and the Immigration Court calendaring. We work with attorneys to provide best estimations on timing at placement so expectations can be as clear as possible. From beginning to end, a case could take anywhere from a year to several years to complete. Some cases may take as little as 20 hours to put together, but there can be long waiting periods for agency response.
Q: Who can I contact if I have additional questions?
A: Tahirih’s pro bono case placements are managed through local offices. If you have additional questions, please contact our team in Baltimore, Greater DC, Houston, or the San Francisco Bay Area.