Orrick congratulates senior associate Don Daybell of our Orange County office, whose commitment to providing pro bono legal services in California was recognized by the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) with its Pro Bono Service Award. Don was honored alongside Anna Strasburg Davis, director of Public Interest Programs at the University of California Irvine School of Law, for their work on the annual Permanency Application Project.
The result of collaboration between Orrick, UCI and the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, the Permanency Application Project helps undocumented victims of crime and domestic violence obtain permanent resident status (i.e. a green card), and be free from their abusers. With the threat of deportation hanging over their heads, many of these clients are afraid to report the crimes they are victims of. However, through a special government program that encourages undocumented crime victims to cooperate with law enforcement, our clients are able to obtain a green card by reporting the crimes and assisting law enforcement to prosecute the offenders. With a green card, our clients can obtain a measure of security and self-sufficiency, as well access to education and job opportunities that would have previously been out of reach. Orrick attorneys supervise UCI students in these cases, giving the students valuable hands-on experience assisting real clients as well as one-on-one guidance from our experienced lawyers.
Don has led the project since 2011 and been a driving force in its expansion, which has involved numerous lawyers from Orrick’s Orange County and Los Angeles office. Over the past four years, Don and numerous Orrick volunteer attorneys and UCI law students have interviewed clients, collected evidence to support the applications, prepared and filed the required forms, and prepared responses to requests from the Immigration Service. In some instances, Orrick attorneys accompany clients on visits, such as with consular officials or doctors, to obtain required evidence. To date, the Permanency Application Project has helped 36 clients successfully obtain permanent resident status.
“This project is all about directly helping very deserving people get their lives back on track. Receiving a green card means the world to our clients. It allows them to come out of the shadows, support their families, many of whom are U.S. citizens, and begin to give back to society,” said Don. “Our clients are truly appreciative of both the responsibilities and the benefits of having legal status; they want to be part of American society, and this program gives them that opportunity. The Orrick attorneys and UCI law students working on this project appreciate the chance to make a real difference in someone’s life, and have a very personal impact. Leading this project is one of the highlights of my practice as an Orrick lawyer.”
Established in 1974, LSC operates as an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation that promotes equal access to justice and provides grants for high-quality civil legal assistance to low-income Americans.