PRO BONO HONOREES

On October 26, 2021, the City Bar Justice Center commemorated the tremendous support of eleven volunteers, who were awarded with a 2021 Outstanding Pro Bono Service Award, for their remarkable commitment to our clients and for championing our team’s mission to advance access to justice. Congratulations!

Immigrant Justice Project: Chase H. Mechanick, Associate at Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP

The Immigrant Justice Project assists asylum seekers fleeing persecution, survivors of violent crimes and trafficking, and individuals seeking humanitarian protection and other relief.

Chase Mechanick is an associate at Kramer Levin and worked with our Immigrant Justice Project to assist a transwoman and survivor of labor trafficking with her immigration status in the United States. The Immigrant Justice Project reached out to Kramer Levin in early 2020 to take on a very urgent and time-sensitive appeal when one of its in-house trafficking cases was denied based on a new and harsh interpretation of immigration law adopted by the former administration, resulting in the risk of the client being placed in removal proceedings. Chase tackled a specialized area of immigration law to leverage precise legal arguments against USCIS’ error-riddled denial. He also worked extensively with the client to obtain new evidence supporting her case. This all was accomplished in under a month’s time. This summer, the Administrative Appeals Office (the appellate arm of USCIS) sustained Chase’s appeal, and the client was finally granted a T visa. The AAO opinion adopted Chase’s reasoning and facts almost wholesale, showing the effectiveness of his advocacy. To provide further context, only approximately 12% of similar cases are granted. Before we received that grant, Chase also submitted an asylum claim on behalf of the same client, to ensure that even if her appeal failed, she would have recourse to other immigration relief. He also recently prepared a public comment on a proposed federal rule for T visa applications, building on his experience with the client. What started with an immediate, discrete case should now hopefully have larger ripple effects that improve the lives of countless survivors.

We applaud Chase for his excellent legal advocacy, his ongoing client commitment, and his willingness to take on new areas of immigration law.