Lawyers Making a Difference: Hardy Vieux
Throughout my legal career, I have made pro bono work a priority. In the mid-1990s, I handled asylum and immigration cases for Haitian refugees detained at Guantanamo Bay. As a Haitian American, I feel it’s important for me to give back to my community by using my legal skills to represent refugees fleeing their homelands without knowing when—or if—they might return home.
Later, I took on more refugee cases. In many of those instances, my clients implored me to help them because they needed someone to believe in them—they needed some semblance of hope. Each time I suspected I could do some good, but I did not expect my clients to leave such an imprint on me.
I met young men whose family members were killed because they dared to speak against those in power. I listened to young women who fled death threats because they dared to act in ways not deemed appropriate for women. I listened, I inquired, I advocated. I also changed.
Their harrowing journeys, replete with courage and tenacity, brought home the point that my clients—like many asylum seekers—came to this country because of their belief that here, someone would give voice to pleas yet unheard. Pro bono lawyers matter because our clients need us to help them realize that their struggles were not in vain.
With that realization in mind, I found myself approaching my work differently: hope nudges out cynicism, laser-like focus develops a firm foothold, and perspective infuses all things. My clients unwittingly made me a better lawyer. Never mind what I may have done for them; what I remember most is what they have done for me.
I am proud to serve as a pro bono lawyer. And I am thankful that we are celebrating the countless lawyers who regularly fight for those unable to fight for themselves.