December 2011 • Vol. 31 No. 11 | An E-Publication of the Los Angeles County Bar Association

Make a Difference: Volunteer Immigration Attorneys Needed for Immigration Court Pro Bono Representation Panel

Training scheduled for January 11. 

During the past 14 years, Immigration Court Pro Bono Representation Panel volunteer attorneys have helped more than 4,000 persons remain in the United States with their families.

Oftentimes, persons needing assistance with immigration issues are represented in court by "notarios" and legal consultants—prevalent in almost all ethnic communities—which can result in the deprivation of the clients' legal rights and benefits under the immigration law.

Volunteer immigration attorneys can make a difference by volunteering their services for this worthwhile panel and providing much-needed legal assistance to persons seeking help with their immigration issues.

The panel operates on Wednesday and Friday mornings when pro bono attorneys show up at designated courtrooms for master calendar hearings only. Volunteers are then matched with participating respondents. The Immigration Court has set aside a special room on the 5th floor so volunteer attorneys and respondents can speak confidentially. Once respondents receive counsel and advice, they proceed with the attorney back to the immigration judge to plead their case.

Each participating attorney will be asked to do one master calendar hearing per month for six months or what your schedule will allow. Maribel Reynoso, the panel coordinator, will try to be as flexible as possible.

If you would like to participate, please attend a training at LACBA on January 11, 2012, at 6:00 p.m. Topics will include general forms of relief; VAWA and U visa; courtroom procedures; right to the attorney; right to present testimony, witness, and evidence; right to the appeal; and the problem with notary attorneys and notarios.

Remember, pro bono representation is only for the first master calendar appearance. Immigration court experience is preferred but not necessary.

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