New Pro Bono Counsel Lauren Connell Profiled by Law360, Am Law
In “Akin Gump Associate Named New Pro Bono Counsel,” Connell, who had previously worked in the firm’s corporate practice, said of her new role, “Basically I joined Akin Gump in part because of their robust pro bono practice, but I hadn’t necessarily planned on doing pro bono work full time. This was just an amazing opportunity that came to me and I’m excited to be able to take advantage of it and be a part of Akin Gump’s pro bono practice in a different way now full time.”
The article notes among her pro bono representations Connell’s involvement from her first days at the firm with the Karnes City Immigration Family Pro Bono Project, which was assembled by Akin Gump in conjunction with nonprofits and academic institutions to meet the needs of the Central American women and children who fled the violence in their countries to seek asylum in the United States in the “surge” of summer 2014 (learn more here).
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“In Trump Era, Akin Gump’s New Pro Bono Counsel Eyes Challenges” similarly features Connell’s background in pro bono work, particularly at Karnes.
Regarding pro bono immigration work under the Trump administration, she said, “It certainly is a terrifying time to be an immigrant advocate. Among our clients there is this climate of fear, because day-to-day, they don’t know what to expect.”
She added, “As a community [of legal immigrant advocates], we’re just trying to learn from each other and share stories to best protect our clients if the worst should happen. These resources are being strained and with the current political climate, it doesn’t look like more will be given to these matters anytime soon.”
Connell noted that her background in corporate law will be useful in “building out transactional pro bono opportunities” and in continuing to work with nonprofit organizations that need corporate governance and related advice. She also emphasized her desire for Akin Gump to continue to work on its pro bono initiatives in areas such as criminal defense work and representation of veterans.