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Pro Bono Attorneys and Volunteers

Human Rights First matches asylum-seekers who need help with trained lawyers who can represent them on a pro bono basis.  We provide mentoring, training, and guidance throughout the representation to ensure that our pro bono lawyers get the support they need to provide the highest quality legal representation to clients seeking asylum in the country. 

Through Human Rights First’s Refugee Representation program, volunteer lawyers have the unique opportunity to change the lives of refugees by helping them win asylum in the United States. Our clients have fled from political, religious, ethnic, and gender-based persecution in countries plagued by human rights violations. They cannot afford counsel and desperately need representation. Volunteer lawyers learn about U.S. asylum law and international human rights law and then have the chance to represent individual clients at an asylum interview or a hearing before an immigration judge.

Through its legal representation work, Human Rights First also serves as an effective advocate for legal reform and policy change on issues affecting asylum seekers in the United States. The Refugee Representation cases assigned to pro bono volunteers inform Human Rights First's advocacy goals by providing real-life evidence of the challenges asylum seekers face upon their arrival in the United States.

There are many ways to help Human Rights First and its asylum clients.  Here are some opportunities to get involved:

Attorney Volunteers

Ousmane Djalbord Kara-2nd from left, Chad -w Jennifer Colyer, Jennifer Kim and Safi Hussain Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson.jpg.jpeg

Photo: Asylee Ousmane Djalbord Kara with pro bono attorneys Jennifer Colyer, Jennifer Kim and Safi Hussain of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP.

Human Rights First provides representation to hundreds of asylum seekers each year through its extensive network of partner law firms and attorney volunteers.  There is no right to government-funded counsel in immigration cases, and many asylum seekers who cannot afford legal representation are left to navigate the complex immigration system on their own.  With so much at stake, legal representation in asylum cases is absolutely crucial.  Our volunteer attorneys help fill a critical gap in representation by providing pro bono representation to clients who have fled from persecution in countries plagued by human rights violations.  Through our program, volunteer lawyers have the opportunity to work with these amazing refugees and to change their lives by helping them secure asylum in the United States. 

If you are an attorney who is interested in taking a pro bono case with Human Rights First, please contact the following Refugee Representation staff members:

We also have free trainings on asylum law and procedure. Check back for details about trainings as they are scheduled.

Interpreter Volunteers

Many of our clients do not speak English, so we are always looking for bi-lingual volunteers to help during screening phone calls and intake interviews.  We also frequently need assistance translating foreign language documents into English.  If you are fluent in English and another language and you are interested in volunteering with us as an interpreter/translator, please reach out to the following Refugee Representation staff members:

Law Student Interns

Human Rights First’s Refugee Protection program offers summer and semester internship opportunities to law students.  Interns play a critical role in our success.  Among other things, we rely heavily on our legal interns to help conduct client intakes, perform extensive research regarding the human rights conditions in countries around the world, and to help critically analyze potential client’s asylum claims.  If you are interested in an academic year or summer internship opportunity, please check the Human Rights First Careers page

Medical and Psychological Volunteers

As a result of the torture and other brutal forms of persecution that many of our clients have endured, they may have physical and psychological scars.  Volunteer health professionals can play a critical role in helping our clients gain asylum in the U.S. by providing them with medical and psychological evaluations to help corroborate their accounts. 

If you are a medical or mental health professional who would like to donate your skills and time to this important cause, please reach out to Physicians for Human Rights or HealthRight International for information about their volunteer opportunities.  These are two of the organizations that regularly work with Human Rights First volunteer attorneys and clients.

Refugee Volunteers

Former Human Rights First clients and other refugees who are interested in publicly sharing their stories can volunteer to participate in our Refugee Voices series.  The series highlights the struggles refugees face around the world and focuses on the courageous individuals we have met through our work providing pro bono legal representation to asylum seekers.

If you or your client would like to participate in Refugee Voices, please contact Gina DelChiaro at DelChiaroG@humanrightsfirst.org.