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This article was originally published on December 01, 2010.

Since opening its doors in 2009 in Houston, Tahirih’s first pilot office has quickly established itself as an important resource in the Houston community— thanks to crucial support from its neighbors. In just one year’s time, Tahirih Houston has expanded its Pro Bono Attorney Network, increased local funding, and most importantly, served more women and children fleeing violence.

The office provided full immigration legal representation and holistic social service support to 37 immigrant women and 29 children fleeing gender-based violence in the Houston area. These clients hail from countries across the globe, including Thailand, Pakistan, India, Libya, Iran, Honduras, El Salvador, Mexico, Kenya, Cameroon, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Nigeria. Above and beyond direct representation, Tahirih has also provided counseling and referrals to over 100 women and children seeking assistance.

In June 2010, the office expanded to a suite within St. Joseph Medical Center. This convenient location has improved accessibility for clients and strengthened Tahirih’s abilities to provide holistic services through convenient access to medical providers. The space was secured in part with the kind assistance of Houston Advisory Council member Marty McVey, President of McVey & Associates LLC. Shell Oil Company generously facilitated the move by donating office furniture and covering associated costs. The new space was celebrated with an Open House on July 28. Tahirih’s previous Houston office space was generously donated by Houston Advisory Council member Chris LaFollette and Akin Gump LLP. Tahirih would like to thank these partners for their generous support.

In just one year, Tahirih has doubled the size of the Houston Pro Bono Attorney Network, which enabled the Housto team to place more cases with volunteer attorneys and ultimately serve more women and girls fleeing violence.

To date, 16 local firms have committed to collaborate with Tahirih in providing free legal representation to immigrant women and girls—including:

  • Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
  • Baker Botts LLP
  • Baker & McKenzie
  • DLA Piper
  • Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP
  • Greenberg Traurig LLP
  • Dunbar Harder PLLC
  • Foster Quan
  • Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom
  • Fulbright & Jaworski LLP
  • Haynes & Boone LLP
  • Howrey LLP
  • Jones Day
  • Mayer Brown LLP
  • Vinson & Elkins LLP
  • White & Case LLP

Tahirih’s Houston office is also partnering with the legal departments of Marathon Oil and Shell Oil Company.

The rapidly growing office has secured new funding from the Texas Office of the Governor, Criminal Justice Division. This restricted funding will allow Tahirih to hire an in-house social worker who will provide holistic case management services to clients, ensuring that they and their children receive basic necessities such as food and shelter, as well as access to medical care and counseling.

Tahirih would like to thank all the volunteers who have helped to make its first year in Houston so successful, including: Sr. Joyce Detzel, CDP, JD, of the Sisters of Divine Providence, who helped grow Tahirih through her work as a part-time volunteer and part time consultant; Karina Gonzalez, JD, who received a paid fellowship from the University of Houston Law Center to work for Tahirih as a legal fellow; and Lauren Etlinger, JD, who volunteered as an in-house attorney for Tahirih during the fall semester.

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