VOLS and Simpson Thacher Hold Clinic for Immigrant Students

March 19, 2014

On February 20, 2014, VOLS and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett collaborated to host a legal clinic to help immigrant youth apply for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a temporary form of relief which benefits immigrants who were brought to the United States as children.

Volunteer attorneys from law firms including Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, Schiff Hardin, and Winston & Strawn and law students from Columbia Law School assisted ten students from public high schools that participate in VOLS' Dream Not Deferred Project. The clinic was supervised by Liz Markuci, VOLS' Immigration Project Director, and Harlene Katzman, Simpson Thacher's Pro Bono Counsel and Director.

By the end of the evening, students left feeling confident that they will soon be able to work legally, and hopefully pursue higher education.

Volunteers expressed their enthusiasm about the clinic’s success and shared some positive remarks:

“I had a fantastic experience working with Andrea* last night. [The] training thoroughly prepared me for the work to be done on the DACA request. VOLS had obviously provided my client with clear instructions, because she came to the clinic with all the necessary documentation, which made our jobs very simple. I found the clinic to be extremely organized and I had a very positive, fulfilling experience. It is fantastic that VOLS provides community outreach to raise awareness of DACA and then gives potential applicants an easy opportunity to access resources to submit an application. I would love to participate in the next clinic.”

- Marissa Cohen, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP

“It’s always nice to be able to give back to the community, especially one that I have ties to, being Hispanic. Alina* was a pleasure to work with, and really was just like any ordinary, American teenager. Ordinary, but for her immigration status. Honestly its remarkable how such a little bit of my time can make all the difference for people like her. People her age are also looking for positive examples as mentors, we were chatting about college, law school, and what it’s like to be a lawyer; she was like a sponge, soaking all of this information up. It was a great experience, and I’d definitely do it again.”

- Christian Mutone, Schiff Hardin LLP

“It was pleasure working with Henry*. The legwork that VOLS performed ahead of time was instrumental in ensuring an efficient use of clinic time, and having supervision was such a great safety-net… all of which made the clinic that much more meaningful for busy attorneys. It’s really powerful to see how just a few minutes of work can have such a major impact on someone’s life—I’ll definitely look for more pro bono opportunities like this.”

- Andrew H. Yong, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP

*names have been changed to protect the privacy of our participants

VOLS would like to thank Simpson Thacher and all of the volunteers who made this DACA clinic possible.