Q&A with Covington & Burling’s Timothy C. Hester
- Wednesday, May 16, 2012 |
- Written by Adiyah Ali
Timothy C. Hester, a partner in Covington & Burling's Washington, D.C., office, accepted KIND's Allegiance Award on behalf of his firm at KIND's May 2nd Pro Bono Awards ceremony. Below is a Q&A with Tim regarding his firm's relationship with KIND:
KIND: How did Covington & Burling begin its partnership with KIND?
Timothy Hester: Covington has been involved with KIND from the organization's start -- Brad Smith (KIND Co-Founder and Board Co-Chair and Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Microsoft Corporation) approached us in 2007 to engage us in the core need to provide legal representation to the growing number of children who come to the United States as refugees or as immigrants without a parent or legal guardian. We were excited to contribute to KIND's start up and our lawyers were eager to commit to representing KIND clients.
KIND: Why does your firm like working with KIND?
TH: There is so much to like about working with KIND -- any lawyer who takes on a case with KIND is immediately put in the position to change the life of a child. It is the highest calling in pro bono service to provide legal representation to children who have faced incredible poverty, violence and persecution, and who now face the daunting prospect of navigating the legal intricacies of the immigration system without a lawyer. KIND has not only been a pioneer in identifying this important need, but it has employed a smart strategy to meet the need. From the outset KIND prioritized efficient and nimble operations to make maximum use of pro bono resources. In just a few short years, KIND has taken on the representation of thousands of children who would otherwise have faced the immigration system alone. Knowing that we are part of such an effective partnership is very rewarding -- we know that we are part of a movement to ensure that unaccompanied children have a lawyer, an adult who cares about them, fighting in their corner for just treatment in the immigration system.
KIND: What do your attorneys gain from representing KIND clients?
TH: We have had 30 lawyers work on KIND matters. I know from speaking with my colleagues that this has been some of the most rewarding work of their careers. It is immensely satisfying for our lawyers to provide legal representation to children who would otherwise be forced to navigate the legal system and the immigration process on their own. This linkage with a child in need, and the ability to provide such critical help at a critical juncture for a child, is enormously fulfilling to our lawyers and reminds them of the highest calling of the profession.
KIND: How do you feel about receiving the award on behalf of Covington & Burling?
TH: Accepting the Allegiance Award was a tremendous honor. KIND's staff are very impressive and the mission of this organization is so powerful that it was a moving experience to be a part of an evening that celebrated KIND's many achievements over such a short period of time. We have been grateful to be a part of KIND's mission, knowing that we are playing a small role in ensuring that children are receiving the representation they deserve in the immigration system. I am very proud of our volunteers and thankful to share this honor with them.
KIND: What advice would you give to another firm that is considering partnering with KIND?
TH: I would let them know that the cases they will handle will be life-changing (for both attorney and client). I would tell them to jump into the partnership with two feet, helping as many clients as possible. I would also assure them that, despite the complexities of the immigration system, they should not be reluctant to take on these matters because KIND will be there with them every step of the way, with superb training and mentorship at all phases of the process.