meet a pro bono partner
Catherine A. Bernard
Mayer Brown LLP
- Q: Why did you join Tahirih’s Pro Bono Network?
- A: I have always focused on asylum cases in my pro bono practice, as I find them to be immensely enriching and rewarding. In the summer of 2014, my firm's pro bono coordinator circulated a list of cases from Tahirih that included one for a 5-year-old girl from El Salvador who was seeking asylum or SIJS status. I have a daughter who at the time was 6, and I realized that I had to take the case.
- Q: Share a highlight from a pro bono case with Tahirih.
- A: So far, the greatest moment has been the day that the little girl's removal proceedings were terminated because the family court had granted her SIJS status. She had suffered greatly in her first few years of life at the hands of her father, a gang member who had abused her physically and sexually, until family members rescued her by fleeing to the U.S. The day the Immigration Judge entered that order, I knew that she was safe, that her father could never hurt her again, and that she would go on to have what every child deserves -- a real childhood.
- Q: How has your Pro Bono service impacted you?
- A: It has enriched my life in meaningful ways, and given me wisdom that I can pass on to my family. I often talk to my daughter about my pro bono work (leaving out information that is privileged or that she is too young to comprehend, of course), and she is particularly interested in my asylum case with Tahirih, since it involves a little girl. Last fall, the grandmother of one of my daughter's classmates stopped me on the street, telling me that she had been visiting the class to talk to them about the Jewish holidays and the tradition of doing good deeds to celebrate the New Year. My daughter apparently piped up that I do good deeds all year, because I save people's lives, and described (simply, but accurately) the Tahirih case and why people seek asylum. I really did not know that she had absorbed and considered the issues so deeply, and I am grateful to Tahirih and the other organizations I have worked with for giving me the opportunity to teach my child about one way to help others.
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meet more pro bono partners
Staff AttorneyRichards Kibbee & OrbeIt has been humbling to work with a client who, despite extreme hardship in her past, has been able to increasingly open up to me.
Associate AttorneyBaker & McKenzie LLPThe women and children I've worked with over the years inspire me to take on new cases.
Hogan Lovells US LLPRealizing the impact of the case’s outcome not just for our client but for her son, shows how these cases can be completely life changing for a family’s future.