Volunteer Advocates for Immigrant Justice (VAIJ), a pro bono legal representation project in Seattle, offers free legal assistance to detained immigrants seeking asylum or other forms of relief before the immigration courts. VAIJ, a joint initiative of the ABA Commission on Immigration and Microsoft Corporation is the first formal pro bono legal aid project sponsored by Microsoft. VAIJ is an affiliate of Kids in Need of Defense (KIND).
VAIJ matches attorneys in the Seattle area with detained immigrants who have claims for relief, ensuring that detainees receive much-needed representation. VAIJ also gives attorneys the opportunity to learn about immigration law and become involved in the advocacy community.
There are many ways in which interested attorneys, recent law graduates, law students, legal assistants, paralegals and interpreters may participate:
Volunteer attorneys represent a case before U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the Immigration Court, or on appeal before the Board of Immigration Appeals. In cases involving unaccompanied youth, attorneys may also appear in state dependency proceedings;
Recent law school graduates, law students, legal assistants, and paralegals, under attorney supervision, help complete applications, develop supporting documentation and legal memoranda, and prepare applicants to testify at their hearings;
Experienced immigration attorneys present training seminars and serve as mentors to VAIJ volunteers; and
Interpreters and translators assist with bridging the language gap between clients and attorneys and paralegals representing clients in immigration proceedings.
VAIJ provides liability insurance coverage at no cost to volunteer attorneys working on cases. To volunteer, please contact us.