Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 06080363 (posted Aug. 3, 2006)"
Rocky Mountain Survivors Center - Monthly Asylum Breakfasts
From Regina Germain, AILA Pro Bono Committee
The Rocky Mountain Survivors Center (RMSC) holds monthly asylum breakfasts in the Denver metropolitan area for immigration practitioners, new attorneys, pro bono attorneys who have never practiced asylum or immigration law and law students. The goals of the breakfast are to improve the quality of representation for all asylum seekers, to educate new and seasoned attorneys, and to collaborate and sometimes commiserate on issues impacting asylum-seekers. There is never an obligation to accept a case from RMSC, but there are usually a few attorneys each breakfast who say they are interested in volunteering. There is no fee to attend. The conference rooms and breakfasts are provided free of charge by the law firms (and on one occasion the Denver Immigration Court provided a court room). Attorneys who participate receive 2 CLE credits (again, free of charge).
Our speakers have included: Board Member Juan Osuna; EOIR Pro Bono Coordinator Steve Lang; Jane Kochman, Senior Protection Officer at UNHCR; Greg Lyndon (a Canadian refugee lawyer); Ron Rosenberg from USCIS's Refugee and Asylum Law Division; Tim Hurley, a DU Law Professor who spoke on 10th Circuit Appeals; a Supervisory Asylum Officer from the Houston Asylum Office and many others. There is often time for discussion about individual cases before or after the breakfasts and the newer attorneys benefit immensely from the wisdom of those with more experience. I find that I very much look forward to the breakfasts as do other participants. My invitations always encourage attorneys on the e-mail list to invite anyone they think might be interested and to reiterate there is no obligation to take a case.
By doing this we have more than doubled the number of pro bono attorneys who assist us. And, we have the gratitude of many attorneys. The AILA Colorado Chapter just voted to make us the beneficiary of the annual liberty awards ceremony (along with RMIAN, another non profit in town). Privately, I get many calls and e-mails thanking us for our efforts.
For more information, go to www.rmscdenver.org.