In collaboration with the University of California Irvine School of Law and the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, our Orange County and Los Angeles offices recently hosted the annual Permanency Application Project to help undocumented victims of crime and domestic violence apply for a "green card" and be free from their abusers. This is the third year Orrick has contributed to the project.
This year, our lawyers and UCI law students helped 16 clients prepare Permanency Applications to adjust their status to become lawful permanent residents. To date, the project has helped seven clients successfully obtain permanent resident status.
"Many of these clients have been tortured by their lack of permanent status in the U.S. They are often told by their abusers that they will be deported (without their children) if they do not conform to the abuser's demands," said Anna Davis, director of Public Interest Programs at UCI. "Having a green card gives them the security to move on in life. The clients will now be able to work, receive college financial aid, and be integrated in mainstream society."
The UCI students—many of whom are 1Ls in their first weeks of law school—received hands-on experience assisting real clients while also getting to work one-on-one with one of our lawyers. "While I can try to convey the importance of pro bono service to students, there is no better lesson than seeing real attorneys taking time from their busy schedules to do pro bono work," Ms. Davis said.
Much of the project's success this year is due to Don Daybell, who doubled the number of our attorney volunteers, handled logistics within the office, assisted with training and served as a mentor throughout the day to the many students who had questions about the project.
"One of my favorite parts of my job is seeing the best in others—watching students and attorneys give their time to help the underserved. However, I have never seen any private firm attorney do as much to make a project successful as Don did," said Ms. Davis. "He is a pro bono superstar by every measure."
"This project is a wonderful opportunity for us to have a significant and direct positive impact on the lives of individual clients who truly need our help," said Don Daybell."I am glad that the firm's commitment to pro bono work allows us to put on projects such as this."
Our team was led by Don Daybell and included Davin Stockwell, Mark Shean, Hardip Passananti, Andrew Yen, Dennis Bent and Lauren Seaton. Maria Lopez and Roxana Cousens-Acedo served as interpreters. Nanci Kawa, Bryan McFarland, Charlotte Santiago and Julie Caraan-Lewis provided logistical support.