Section of Litigation

Pro Bono Task Force

The Pro Bono Task Force assists legal aid organizations and their indigent clients by recruiting lawyers to work on their behalf. We provide meaningful work to our volunteers and help them do it well. In the process, we enthusiastically spread the word about the value of pro bono service.

Pro Bono Opportunity

The American Bar Association’s Pro Bono Task Force is thrilled to be assisting the South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project (“ProBAR”).

ProBAR is an ABA entity comprised of dedicated attorneys and paralegals who provide much-needed immigration help to detained adults and children along the border in the Rio Grande Valley. Many of ProBAR’s clients seek protection from violence and persecution in their home countries. With language barriers, little understanding of U.S. law and court procedures, and limited financial resources, they face tremendous obstacles to winning immigration relief.

The Task Force is marshaling the ABA’s resources to help ProBAR and its detained clients. We will be providing the border attorneys with content and mentorship that will help them “step up their game.”

We are looking for volunteers to record short (5-10 minute) videos for ProBAR’s attorneys. You need not be an immigration lawyer to participate! The attorneys are interested in general litigation tips, including written advocacy, oral advocacy, trial practice, appellate practice, and working with experts. They are also interested in writ practice (including mandamus and habeas corpus) and criminal practice (including post-conviction relief). The content and format will be up to you, but we suggest limiting your presentation to a point or two. For example, you could address common pitfalls in witness preparation, or best practices for getting a particular type of evidence admitted at trial. Your audience will be lawyers with 3-5 years of experience, so it’s best to keep the presentation simple.

The videos will be recorded on Zoom, so you can create one from your desktop!

In addition to recording the video, we ask that you be available for follow-up, in case the ProBAR attorneys have questions or would like to discuss.

ProBAR is also looking for volunteers to present interactive webinars for their attorneys. If you are interested in organizing a 1-2 hour practical webinar for ProBAR attorneys, we would love to talk to you about potential topics.

Finally, we are looking for mentors who would be willing to assist ProBAR attorneys on individual projects – helping them refine their arguments, craft effective briefs, or sharpen their strategies. Mentors may also provide sample briefs or talk attorneys through “best practices” in a particular area, such as appellate oral arguments, witness preparation, and motion practice. Volunteers will be paired up with ProBAR attorneys who express an interest in mentorship.

If you have questions about these opportunities, please reach out to Tom Gilson (tgilson@beusgilbert.com) or Tiffany Graves (tgraves@bradley.com). If you’re ready to participate, please contact Heather Nichols (Heather.Nichols@americanbar.org), with the ABA and she’ll get you started.

We’re excited about this project and we hope you will join us!

Resources for Representing Immigrant Children

  • Habeas Practice Advisory for Immigrant Children in Detention
    The Children’s Rights Litigation Committee of the ABA Section of Litigation,  with the pro bono assistance of DLA Piper, has prepared a practice advisory for lawyers representing immigrant children in detention. The advisory includes an overview of the legal framework, a Pleading Template, sample fact patterns, and additional materials.
  • Utilizing Habeas Corpus Petitions for Unaccompanied Immigrant Children
    This webinar was presented on December 16, 2019 by the Children’s Rights Litigation Committee. In this program, panelists described the impact a habeas petition can make and discussed the nuts and bolts of how to file in federal district court.