Following several Executive Orders announcing travel bans and increased immigration enforcement, the legal community has increased its efforts to deliver vital immigration legal services to our communities and thousands of attorneys have volunteered to donate their time and services on a pro bono basis. The New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) received many inquiries from its members about how they can help. In order to best address the rise of attorneys seeking to do pro bono work, while supporting the non-profit and legal service organizations actively serving New York’s immigrant communities, NYSBA paired up with the New York Bar Foundation and Legal.io to create a web-based portal through which attorneys can be referred to volunteer opportunities in a tailored and timely fashion.
NYSBA’s Immigration Pro Bono Portal provides volunteer attorneys with tailored referrals to current and relevant volunteer opportunities at legal services organizations where the attorneys’ specific skills and experience are needed. As a result, attorneys are connected with appropriate volunteer opportunities in a timely manner while legal services organizations are able to provide more services and save valuable resources.
Since July, we have referred over fifty attorneys to more than twenty organizations across the state. In the long run, we seek to assist New York’s civil legal service community in achieving 100% legal immigration representation (currently the nationwide average is about 30%), where representation in deportation and detention contexts is the norm, not an exception.
We encourage attorneys who are interested in volunteering to visit www.nysbaprobono.org and register as a volunteer attorney so that we may provide them with tailored referrals to volunteer opportunities for which they may be well suited. We also encourage organizations across the state that both serve New York’s immigrant population, and have a need for pro bono volunteers, to visit the site and create a listing, indicating their volunteer needs, so we may refer suitable volunteers to them. If you have any questions about NYSBA’s Pro Bono Immigration Portal, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 518-487-5642.
Immigration Pro Bono Fellow