Interview with J. Stephen Poor, Managing Partner, Seyfarth Shaw Accepting KIND’s 2012 Pro Bono Service Award
- Monday, April 30, 2012 |
- Written by Adiyah Ali
J. Stephen Poor is a partner in the Chicago office of Seyfarth Shaw, where he represents management in the area of labor and employment law. Steve is Chair and Managing Partner, responsible for the leadership, direction, growth, profitability, and culture of the firm. Steve will be receiving KIND's Allegiance Award on behalf of Seyfarth Shaw on May 2 in recognition of the firm's commitment to KIND. Below is a Q&A with Steve:
KIND: What about KIND's work and/or mission is compelling to Seyfarth Shaw's attorneys?
Steve Poor: KIND is helping to bridge a major gap in our immigration system. For those of us that are not familiar with the way the U.S. immigration system works, we were initially shocked to discover that a 4- or 5-year-old has to face government lawyers in immigration proceedings without the benefit of having a lawyer. We imagine that young, scared child being our own child – alone in a courtroom – and it is difficult for us to comprehend that any child could be in that situation. Thus, our attorneys feel deeply compelled to help fulfill KIND's mission by ensuring that no child face a courtroom without an attorney.
KIND: Given that Seyfarth Shaw has a reputation for its commitment to pro bono work, had you ever envisioned your firm lending its expertise to a nonprofit such as KIND?
SP: Our goal is not only to envision lending our expertise to a nonprofit like KIND, but to ultimately achieve what we've envisioned. It is our privilege to lend our support to KIND. We are blessed to have relationships with lots of wonderful organizations like KIND that are doing great work in a variety of areas. We ask ourselves, "How can we help this organization fulfill its mission?" It is not always making our lawyers available to represent a client pro bono, but sometimes we offer office space, give an in-kind donation, or provide the expertise that our firm has learned in process management – SeyfarthLean. Adapting SeyfarthLean to KIND was a great opportunity for our firm to apply some of the things we have learned in process-driven methodology to KIND's model. We, like Wendy Young, wanted to ensure that KIND's day-to-day work to serve unaccompanied children was being done in the most effective and efficient manner.
KIND: What has been learned from the completion of the yearlong SeyfarthLean project?
SP: This was the first opportunity to apply SeyfarthLean in this kind of context. We learned how our process management model can be applied to help an organization fulfill its mission. We like to think that the project is helping at least one child, if not more.
KIND: What do you think of being honored with KIND's Allegiance Award?
SP: We are incredibly honored and very humbled by this gesture. KIND is doing outstanding work on a daily basis and we are delighted to have played a small part in your efforts to assist these children. Thank you so much for allowing us to support your efforts in fulfilling your mission. We are very appreciative of this honor.
To buy tickets to KIND's 2012 Pro Bono Service Awards ceremony on May 2 in Washington, DC, please click here.