Pro bono attorney Crystal Freed achieved a wonderful outcome for a Venezuelan family who came to the United States after a horrifying tragedy. Read about her efforts here.
What were the basic facts of your cases?
A family of four — a mother and three daughters — sought asylum in the United States after the father was murdered by the Venezuelan authorities for speaking out against the regime in charge. They came to me through my home church, Southpoint Community Church.
What were you able to accomplish for your clients?
I was able to secure work permits for the mother and older daughter and, after the requisite time period, applied for and ultimately secured green cards for each of the four family members. Now that they have their green cards, that sets this family on a clear path toward becoming United States naturalized citizens.
Why was the outcome important to your clients?
Though my clients love their home country, it is no longer safe for them. Having the United States to now call home and having a document that gives them some of the rights and privileges of living here means the world to them.
Why was the experience important to you? that is, what did you gain from the experience?
Life has not been easy for my clients. As I think about their experience in Venezuela and reflect on what’s going on in Syria (7.6 million displaced), I am grateful for our country and all the freedoms we enjoy. It is not something that I ever want to take for granted.
What is the name of your firm? In what areas do you practice?
The Freed Firm, P.A. predominantly focuses on pro bono representation of human-trafficking victims.
What advice do you have for other attorneys considering pro bono involvement?
I called Kathy Para after this family came as a referral through my church. After providing her the initial required documentation, Kathy quickly advised that the family qualified for legal aid and the case was assigned to me.
Jacksonville Area Legal Aid provided all needed support — not only malpractice insurance and online trainings, but also (in my case) an introduction to Joanne Fakhre, who regularly practices and is an excellent attorney in the area of immigration and nationality law.
I am privileged to engage in work from which I derive joy. In our profession we are called to the oppressed and even if your practice area doesn’t take you to that population daily, you can choose to take a case that will make a difference in someone’s life.
The lasting impact of Freed’s pro bono efforts is impossible to measure. Her clients can continue to heal from the tragedy they endured. They have a chance at a new life in a new country.
Pro bono involvement is simply making the commitment to resolve one legal matter for one client. Attorneys interested in more information about pro bono representation and pro bono project participation are encouraged to contact Para at [email protected]