Why did you want to get involved with Kids in Need of Defense UK?

I had started at Ropes & Gray’s banking team around six months prior to starting with Kids In Need of Defense UK. Ropes & Gray has a target of at least 20 hours of pro bono work per year and I was eager to find a pro bono project that interested me. Felicity Kirk (International Pro Bono lead at Ropes and Gray) suggested I attend the training.  

Being a junior associate and having limited client contact in my day-to-day role, this was a great opportunity to work directly with clients and a nice change from corporate work. 

What were your initial thoughts when you took on a case?

Since I had no background in immigration law, it was a bit daunting. Anna, (Kids in Need of Defense UK Supervising Solicitor), was there to help with technical legal questions. When I met the family I would represent, which consisted of two parents and three young children from Ghana, I could tell they were frustrated with the system and the legal advice they had received in the past. 

They had submitted several unsuccessful applications and were scared about the very real prospect of being removed from the UK. They had spent money that they couldn't afford on previous applications for leave to remain. Now the Home Office makes them report every month and they are very nervous. In addition the father had an accident which resulted in serious injuries. As a result he has been charged fees, which he is unable to repay, for medical care provided by the NHS. You can tell that all of this is hanging over their heads. 
Anna is helping us with the legal arguments. We want to make sure this application is done right so they can move forwards. It is so important for them. 

Do you feel supported doing the casework?

Yes. It is much more involved than clinical pro bono work but with Anna's guidance and templates, we have all the resources we need. We also have other members from the finance team working on cases so we can collaborate and share stories.

What has been a highlight for you?

We are still in the early stages but I have enjoyed looking at the legal obstacles that this family has faced and coming up with a strategy. They could not do this alone and I like being able to use my legal skills to assist.

Would you recommend Kids in Need of Defense UK to a colleague? 

Absolutely. The finance team is a close-knit group. We share stories and have already had other colleagues sign up based on our conversations. 

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