We found him a job. Found him a home. Got him medical care. Won him a green card. And even though we’d each been practicing law for more than 20 years, the experience can only be described by the cliché “baptism by fire.” We emerged, a bit bewildered, but nevertheless as true believers. At the end of the case, we resolutely reinvented our professional selves into full-time immigration lawyers.
This was my first of many pro bono immigration cases (assisted by a colleague who herself had never previously practiced in immigration law), and I’ve taken many more in the ten-plus years since. I have yet to arrive at a satisfactory definition of what is so good about doing pro bono work, in part because there is, quite candidly, a lot of self-satisfaction in it, and that just can’t be a sufficient definition. I do believe, as one of my clients explained quite simply, that you fight evil by going out and doing more good.