Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), a nonprofit organization founded by Angelina Jolie and Microsoft that arranges legal representation for refugee and immigrant children in the United States, has honored Goodwin partner Doug Doskocil as its pro bono attorney of the month.
Doskocil was featured in KIND’s monthly newsletter where he discusses the work he’s done for KIND and the challenges of representing unaccompanied minors, children fleeing gang violence, abuse and homelessness in their home countries, often due to parental neglect.
Doskocil and other Goodwin Procter pro bono attorneys help children obtain Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, which allows them to reside legally in the U.S.; in some cases, the children are seeking asylum. For a child to qualify for SIJS and become a legal resident of the U.S., advocates must prove that the child is dependent on the state (younger than age 18), that they should not be returned to their home country, and that they have been abandoned, abused or neglected by parents.
But the complicated process is also a race against time, since it can take as long as a year and must be completed before the child turns 18. Making matters more difficult, some of the cases involve removal proceedings, where pro bono attorneys like Doskocil must convince the court to await the outcomes of SIJS and asylum proceedings.
An IP litigation partner based in Boston, Doskocil coordinates Goodwin’s Unaccompanied Minors Pro Bono Program and oversees the firm’s work on KIND cases.
“Working on KIND cases lends a new perspective to helping children,” Doskocil said in the newsletter article. “These children have been through so much and often only want the opportunity to succeed. Anything that I can do to help with their citizenship integration, character development, or anything that will help them access opportunity is well worth it.