October 23, 2018
The Legal Aid Society of New York recognized Latham & Watkins at its 2018 Pro Bono Publico Awards for outstanding service to the Society and its clients. The Society is the oldest and largest provider of legal aid to the indigent and the impoverished in the United States. Latham has a longstanding relationship with the Society, part of the firm’s deep and abiding commitment to offering free legal services and access to justice to the vulnerable in New York City and beyond.
A New York-based team, led by partners Rob Malionek and Nick McQuaid, was honored for its work with the Society. Together, Latham and the Society filed a federal class action challenging the US Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) eligibility interpretation for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS). Since 2008, SIJS has served as a legal pathway for unaccompanied minors under the age of 21, who have been abused, abandoned, or neglected by one or both parents, to obtain lawful permanent residency. However, a change to the policy in January 2018 meant that individuals who are over 18, but not yet 21, no longer qualified for SIJS and were therefore in danger of losing their immigration status. The parties are currently briefing cross-motions for summary judgment, and a decision is expected in the near term.
“We thank The Legal Aid Society for this award, and for the Society’s tremendous work helping low-income New Yorkers,” said partner Rob Malionek. “We are so proud to partner with this storied organization to change the lives of its clients and our community.”