(CHICAGO) Katten announced today that the firm will receive the National Legal Aid & Defender Association (NLADA) 2020 Beacon of Justice Award recognizing the firm’s extraordinary pro bono work serving individuals fleeing to the US border.
“Katten is honored to receive this award as it spotlights the tireless commitment and dedicated work of our attorneys who have helped protect the rights of those seeking to come to the US and fleeing from persecution and violence in their home countries,” said Jonathan K. Baum, Katten’s Director of Pro Bono Services. “By advocating for and defending immigrants and refugees, we are offering relief, hope and justice to the powerless.”
Katten will be honored at the NLADA awards celebration, “Scaling Justice: Celebrating Creative Solutions” on September 16.
In 2019, more than 100 Katten attorneys in various US offices devoted nearly 8,000 hours — representing more than a quarter of the firm’s pro bono hours — toward working to secure freedom and security for those seeking to enter or stay in the United States.
Katten attorneys represented more than 70 individuals and families last year in hearings to secure asylum to avoid returning to countries in Africa, Central America, the Middle East and beyond. Many of these cases are still pending, but 15 of these hearings resulted in grants of asylum. In none of these hearings did Katten attorneys fail to win asylum for their clients.
Beyond asylum work, Katten attorneys have represented immigrants in applying for green cards under the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), nonimmigrant visas (U visa), and Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS). Firm attorneys have served individuals along the US-Mexico border by providing assistance remotely with credible fear determination interviews. They also have traveled to the border to counsel individuals who have applied for asylum but have been required to stay in Mexico under the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), as well as to provide asylum advice to immigrants detained in federal detention facilities and local jails near the Mexican border. Additionally, they have served as monitors interviewing detained migrant children in an effort to determine compliance with court orders setting minimum standards for conditions in the detention facilities.
Katten was a recipient of the 2014 Beacon of Justice Award honoring law firms that have created and implemented innovative strategies to improve life outcomes for those in need. The firm also was honored by the American Bar Association with its 2016 Pro Bono Publico Award for outstanding commitment to volunteer legal services for the poor and disadvantaged and received the Public Interest Law Initiative Pro Bono Initiative Award in 2018 for outstanding contributions to public interest law and pro bono services in Illinois.