What is your regular practice area: Where do you work? What do you love most about your job?
I have practiced immigration law with the labor and employment boutique firm Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, since 2005. I started out with Kilpatrick Townsend in 1980 doing employment law litigation, and overtime began transitioning to immigration, as both areas of practice were representing employers. I really enjoy getting to work with foreign nationals from all over the world.
What is your most recent pro bono experience?
One that comes to mind is working with a family from Syria who came to the United States as refugees, first preparing their green card applications and more recently their applications to become US citizens.
How has engaging in pro bono legal service enriched your career, or enriched you personally or professionally?
I was fortunate from my earliest days as an attorney at the Kilpatrick Townsend firm to be mentored by more senior attorneys who stressed the obligation to give back to the community and encouraged pro bono involvement from the beginning. The Constangy firm has a similarly strong commitment to pro bono work, and frankly, some of the most rewarding work I have done as an attorney has been pro bono work.
Of what moment(s) from your pro bono work are you the most proud?
Being able to see clients reunited with family members who are coming from abroad. For some types of immigration applications, the process can take more than a decade to complete.
What advice would you give someone who has not yet provided any pro bono work?
Think outside the box and follow your interests. If you do employment law, you may be able to help a local nonprofit with an employee handbook review. If you are a corporate attorney, you might be able to help a local agency apply for 501(c)(3) status. Or delve into some area of law in which you don’t normally practice. There are a number of organizations that assist pro bono attorneys with learning the substantive areas needed.