Florence Project logo 25 yearsTonight, I’ll be attending a great annual event: the Pro Bono Appreciation and Awards evening hosted by the Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project.

It starts at 5:30, at Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie LLP in downtown Phoenix. I hope to see you there.

Down below, I list those who will be honored tonight. They truly deserve the thanks of all of us for the work they do.

But before I get to those names: If we needed another example of how important the Project’s work is, a recent story from the New York Times provides it. It’s titled “It’s Children Versus Federal Lawyers in Immigration Court,” and you should read it here.

As the Project’s Executive Director, Lauren Dasse, points out in an email to supporters:

“I’m happy to share that the Florence Project’s work representing children was featured in last Sunday’s New York Times! These days, it seems that the only national news attention to immigration issues revolves around campaign promises. That’s why it was refreshing to hear from a reporter who wanted to write a story about immigrant and refugee children who have no right to government provided legal representation. I gladly shared about the Florence Project’s work, and about how we support efforts to increase representation for all immigrants in detention—men, women, and children.”

Lauren Dasse Executive Director The Florence Project

Lauren Dasse, Executive Director, The Florence Project

“The article focuses on a 15-year-old boy from El Salvador, whose dramatic story of escaping gang violence is one we hear from hundreds of children that we have helped over recent years. The article gives an overview of what children face in immigration court, if they can’t afford a lawyer, and how even children are expected to represent themselves. The boy was afraid to speak for himself in court, but he met a Florence Project attorney who offered assistance. Thankfully, we are able to represent him and he won’t have to go to court alone again.”

“We are closely following the efforts in federal court to obtain the right to government-provided counsel. In the meantime, we will continue our important work providing know your rights presentations, legal intakes, legal representation, and doing all we can to connect children and adults with lawyers.”

The Fire Line by Fernanda Santos Yarnell Hill Fire Granite Mountain Hotshots(It’s worth noting that the reporter on the article is Fernanda Santos, who also serves as the Times’ Arizona bureau chief. If her name sounds familiar for another reason, it may be due to her exemplary coverage of the Yarnell Hill Fire that took the lives of 19 firefighters. She later turned her breaking-news coverage into a moving and informative book about those men and the families they left behind. It’s titled The Fire Line: The Story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots and One of the Deadliest Days in American Firefighting, and I recommend it. You can read more about it and her here.)

Here, finally, are the names of the attorneys and firms to be honored tonight (photos down below):

  • Law Firm Partner of the Year: Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie LLP
  • Lifetime Achievement Award: Anthony Pelino, Esq., Law Office of Anthony Pelino
  • Rookie Pro Bono of the Year: Adam Kaplan, Esq., Honeywell International Inc.
  • Adult Program Pro Bono of the Year: Lilia Alvarez, Esq., Alvarez Law PLC
  • Children’s Program Pro Bono of the Year: Brian Kim, Esq., Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie LLP
  • Pro Bono All-Star: Sambo Dul, Esq., Perkins Coie LLP

If you can’t attend this evening but you know these folks, be sure to reach out with congratulations and thanks.

 

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