While conducting research on law firm pro bono programs, I found one firm that clearly stood out: Morrison Foerster. Not only are the attorneys at MoFo incredibly brilliant and collegial, they also place a profound emphasis on pro bono work. This summer, I’ve been able to experience first-hand the seriousness with which MoFo handles life-changing matters.
It was incredibly important for me, as the son of Guatemalan immigrants, to find a firm that values the different communities that make us special. MoFo provided an opportunity to work on an important asylum matter for an Afghan citizen who worked for international nongovernmental organizations that conducted human rights work. Our client spent much of his life in Afghanistan providing crucial services, advocating for women’s rights, and promoting protections for children. Unfortunately, the Taliban’s resurgence in Afghanistan placed his life in immediate danger. After being evacuated to the United States, our client sought to apply for asylum, and a dedicated MoFo team took on the case. I contributed to the Statement of Facts section of our asylum brief and researched case law that could be helpful for the case. With incredible guidance from the MoFo team, I learned about brief writing and asylum law, while making a difference in someone’s life.
MoFo also gave me the opportunity to help an Afghan family of four seek legal permanent residency in the United States. My assignment was part of a larger initiative by MoFo to host an Adjustment of Status clinic, where MoFo attorneys and summer associates assisted refugees that were evacuated from Afghanistan under “Operation Refugees Welcome.” I, and several other summer associates, worked diligently with MoFo attorneys and translators to complete lengthy applications and begin many families’ processes to establish a stable, permanent home.
The MoFo attorney helping me with the matter, Joseph Gillman, gave me tremendous agency to handle the case and provided important oversight and tips along the way. From working with the clients, I learned more about the substance of immigration law, and, from working with Joseph, I learned the skills I’d need to excel in the legal profession. His support on the assignment, and throughout the summer, was representative of the support I received from everyone at the Los Angeles office.
Being able to learn from MoFo attorneys, while giving back to immigrant communities, led to an overall amazing summer at the firm. As an attorney, I hope to continue employing my legal skills to advocate for important causes and improve people’s lives.