In honor of next week’s National Pro Bono Week, the Dallas Bar Association’s Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program (DVAP) hosted it’s annual Pro Bono Awards last night. This year DVAP celebrates its 30th anniversary. As a pro bono agency, Human Rights Initiative has the privilege to present an award to an outstanding associate who has significantly contributed to our mission of providing free legal services to victims of human rights abuses. This year we honored Joanna Grigson for her support of our Women and Children’s Program and Lauren Leahy for her support of our Asylum Program.
Joanna Grigson, an associate specializing in commercial litigation at Patton Boggs LLP, has been an active volunteer with HRI since 2007. She has assisted with several asylum cases and a U-Visa case for a domestic violence victim. Joanna has been a tireless advocate for HRI’s clients through direct representation, membership on HRI’s Pro Bono Committee, and participation in our human rights curriculum program, which teaches local students about human rights.
Lauren Leahy’s involvement with the Human Rights Initiative traces back to her summer internship after she completed her 1L. Lauren, a commercial litigation lawyer with Vinson & Elkins, is currently on sabbatical to complete a judicial clerkship. She has been a strong advocate for asylum-seekers and has donated hundreds of pro bono hours representing families who were severely tortured in Africa and Asia. Lauren has worked tirelessly on several cases and successfully presented cases before the Houston Asylum Office and the Dallas Immigration Court. She has also made significant contributions as a member of HRI’s Pro Bono Committee. Lauren has transformed the lives of many asylum-seekers, thus allowing them to live in the United States free from persecution and torture.