Eric Krathwohl, Managing Director and Shareholder of Rich May, was honored as Pro Bono Attorney of the Month by Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) for his work on behalf of immigrant youths seeking authorization to stay in the United States. In recognizing Attorney Krathwohl, KIND stated: “Eric has been a caring, diligent and conscientious advocate for his clients. Thank you, Eric, for your extraordinary work.” Such work includes representation in Massachusetts Family Courts and the Federal Immigration Court.
Attorney Krathwohl shared more about his involvement in an interview with KIND:
KIND: What have you learned from this experience or from your clients?
EJK: Although I had heard about the gangs and violence in Latin America, only after meeting with my first KIND client and hearing his story directly, did I begin to really appreciate the desperate situation faced by so many people fleeing their home countries – particularly the children that KIND is focused on helping. I have learned how spending some time volunteering can make such a difference in the lives of people who really need help and how there really is a lot of human compassion from the KIND volunteers and staff to the judges hearing the cases to the communities that take the children in.
KIND: What is the most surprising thing you you’ve learned about the U.S. immigration system?
EJK: The time to process a case shouldn’t surprise me given my practice in regulatory law, but it is long! What I must say is most surprising is the extent of the efforts of the current administration to make the immigration process more difficult.
KIND: What would you tell other attorneys to encourage them to take a KIND case?
EJK: It is one thing to help business clients achieve their goals, but it is an entirely different thing and really much more rewarding to help the KIND clients, both in the legal process and in the process of navigating a new country and new culture. The appreciation expressed by the clients and their caretakers for our help is heartwarming.
KIND: Do you have any advice for a new attorney taking their first pro bono case?
EJK: Of course, learn from the excellent KIND training sessions and materials, but most important work closely with your KIND mentor. They are incredibly helpful – experienced, knowledgeable, strategic and responsive.
Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) is the leading national organization advocating for the rights of unaccompanied migrant and refugee children in the U.S. In 2008, KIND was founded by the Microsoft Corporation and UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie to address the gap in legal services for unaccompanied minors. Through strategic partnerships, KIND provides pro bono legal representation for refugee and migrant children across the country. Over the past decade, KIND has expanded its services to develop a holistic strategy for addressing the needs of these children and the systemic causes of forced migration. To date, KIND has been referred more than 20,000 children since 2009, has had over 50,000 training participants on how to represent children alone, and fostered over 644 legal partners. For more information on KIND, click here.