Haynes and Boone Recognized by Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program for Pro Bono Services


Haynes and Boone, LLP was recently honored at the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program (DVAP) Pro Bono Awards Celebration for outstanding pro bono services in the Dallas community.

Partner Debbie McComas received the 2015 Pro Bono Coordinator of the Year award, and the firm was given the second-highest award of the evening, the 2015 Gold Award for Pro Bono Service for law firms with more than 150 attorneys.

In addition, Associates Michelle Jacobs and Lissette Villarruel were awarded the 2015 Outstanding Associate Award for the Asylum Program of Human Rights Initiative of North Texas for their work on behalf of a Sudanese mother and her four children seeking asylum in the U.S.

“Our lawyers and staff readily donate their time and talents to help others with no expectation of recognition, making these accolades from DVAP especially gratifying,” said Managing Partner Tim Powers. “Haynes and Boone is strongly committed to serving those in need and the firm is honored that we were able to have such a life-changing impact on the lives of this mother and her children.”

As a child, the mother endured female genital mutilation and sought asylum in the U.S. to prevent her daughters from suffering the same ordeal. Under Sudanese law, the woman had no legal right to refuse subjecting her own children to the same torture. To speak out against female circumcision in Sudan invited beatings and possible death.

Few women already subjected to genital mutilation meet the standard for asylum, which requires proof of a reasonable expectation of continued persecution. But after the mother’s application for asylum was initially not granted, the Haynes and Boone team worked to reverse the decision.

Haynes and Boone has a longstanding tradition of pro bono service in the Dallas community, including support for DVAP and its programs. DVAP is an organization dedicated to increasing and enhancing pro bono legal services to the poor in Dallas through the recruitment, training, and support of volunteer attorneys. DVAP is a joint program of the Dallas Bar Association and Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas created in 1997 when both organizations merged their previously separate pro bono programs to create one cohesive effort to address the legal needs of the poor in Dallas.

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