Casa Cornelia Volunteers Transform Lives Every Day

May 21, 2024

Carmen M. Chavez, Esq. – Executive Director, Casa Cornelia Law Center

Ensuring due process and equal access to justice is central to our profession as attorneys. For those who cannot afford an attorney, access to pro bono legal services is critical. However, this can be difficult, if not impossible, for vulnerable asylum seekers, undocumented victims of serious crimes, and immigrant children who have suffered persecution, torture, or abuse.

Moreover, adding to the complexity is the fact that we serve clients from around the globe who speak over 50 different languages. To bridge the gap, Casa Cornelia relies on the goodwill of its volunteers. In 2023, attorneys from private law firms donated 13,382 hours, a 17% increase from the previous year. Language volunteers contributed 7,659 hours in 2023, representing a 78% increase from 2022.

Each volunteer attorney, interpreter, and translator receive training and mentorship from staff assigned to a case. This commitment to our volunteers and their service makes a difference in our clients’ lives, and in turn, clients change our volunteers forever.

Many volunteers share how their experience has renewed their passion and purpose for their legal practice. They share the stories of their clients – testimonies of suffering but also resilience. They recount what happened in the courtroom and how the judge ruled. When the hurdles are overcome, and the court grants their case, they beam with joy, pride, and relief. Their client, our client, has now found a new life, free from violence and fear. As shown in the picture, you see the client with his team of attorneys (las abogadas), full of happiness. Lives transformed!

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