International law firm Dorsey & Whitney LLP announced today that Partners Kirsten Schubert and Kate Johnson and Associate Caitlin Hull received the 2017 National Advocate of the Year Award from the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota (“ILCM”) for their role as pro bono counsel in the Anti-Refugee/Muslim Ban Emergency Collaboration (“Collaboration”), a coalition of politicians, attorneys, students and advocates who helped challenge the Trump Administration’s Muslim travel ban in January and February 2017.  Schubert, Johnson, and Hull were honored as award recipients at the ILCM’s 2018 Gala on June 1. 

ILCM honored individuals and organizations who participated in the Collaboration, which challenged the Muslim ban, and brought a four-year-old girl home to her family in Minnesota. The Collaboration’s prompt response and support reunited a family and testified to the continuing and widespread support of refugees and to the strong opposition to discrimination against Muslims, both here in Minnesota and across the country. 

A four-year-old girl made headlines around the world when the Trump Administration’s first travel ban stopped her at an airport in Uganda, preventing her from joining her mother and two sisters in Minnesota. That’s when ILCM joined forces with some of the most experienced immigration experts and litigators in the state, marshalling legal resources to reunite the child with her mother and sisters. The efforts of the Anti-Refugee/Muslim Ban Emergency Collaboration paid off on February 2, 2017 when, finally cleared for travel, the four-year-old girl arrived at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and was reunited with her family after years of separation. 

Collaboration members honored were:
  • Advocates for Human Rights
  • Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid
  • University of St. Thomas Law School
  • University of Minnesota Law School’s James H. Binger Center for New Americans
  • Dorsey & Whitney LLP
  • American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota
  • CAIR Minnesota
  • Lutheran Social Services
  • Senator Amy Klobuchar
  • Senator Al Franken (retired)
  • Representative Keith Ellison

“Community is a Dorsey core value, and pro bono work is one of the most important ways we give back to the community”, said Eric Ruzicka, the Firm’s Pro Bono Partner. “We are extremely proud that Kirsten’s, Kate’s and Caitlin’s pro bono work is being recognized by the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota.  Their work is an excellent example of Dorsey’s extensive pro bono program.” 

Dorsey’s pro bono program is led by two full-time pro bono attorneys and a partner who oversees the program Firm-wide across Dorsey’s 20 offices in the United States, China, Canada and Europe. In 2017, the Firm devoted over 30,000 hours to pro bono work in a wide range of areas from criminal defense work to housing to asylum to protection of women who have been subjected to domestic abuse. In 2016, over 105 Dorsey lawyers in the Minneapolis office alone were recognized as North Star Lawyers for devoting more than 50 hours to pro bono.  Dorsey was an original signatory of the Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge and has met the Challenge every year since it was put in place in 1993 by devoting at least 3% of total billable hours to qualifying pro bono work.