Working with McDonald’s Corporation to Win Asylum for Jean B.

When law firms and corporations become partners to represent asylum seekers, they make a significant difference, according to Mary Meg McCarthy, executive director of the National Immigrant Justice Center, who referred the case of Congolese asylum seeker Jean B. to a team of lawyers from McDonald’s Corporation and Jenner & Block.

Working closely together, Partner Wade Thomson and McDonald’s Senior Counsel Pauline Levy received a grant of asylum for Mr. B in July 2018, using “tried-and-true” methods for success. “Both Pauline and I have worked on similar cases before, and that made this partnership particularly great,” said Wade. “Over the course of the case, we came to see Jean’s tremendous courage and leadership. He stood up to a brutal regime to promote teachers’ rights, and he did so in the face of persecution, torture and possibly his own death. Every member of our team has been inspired by his story of courage.”

Partnering with the UK’s Centrepoint Charity

Creating an effective pro bono partnership requires a broad commitment to supporting an organization on many levels. But this is the goal of Jenner & Block’s London office in its new partnership with Centrepoint, the United Kingdom’s leading youth homelessness charity.

“We are excited to work with Centrepoint and find ways to add value to the organization,” said Partner Christine Braamskamp, who is a co-chair of the firm’s Investigations, Compliance and Defense Practice. “This is a unique opportunity for everyone in our growing office to be part of something that makes a difference in the lives of many people.”

For example, a team of lawyers and staff participated in Centrepoint's Sleep Out to break the cycle of youth homelessness. In November 2018, Partner Kelly Hagedorn, Associate Tracey Lattimer and Legal Secretaries Patrisha Williams and Bethany Jarvis joined hundreds of others who slept outside on a bitterly cold and damp night and woke up to carry on with the next day at work. Sleep Out does not aim to replicate what it is like to be homeless, but it provides insight into the challenges faced by homeless young people. Centrepoint’s patron, HRH the Duke of Cambridge, Prince William, has even participated in the Sleep Out, joining Centrepoint’s CEO Seyi Obakin for the night several years ago. Of his experience, he said, “I was very struck by the people I met and what they were struggling with—sleeping rough, sofa surfing, not having basic comforts a lot of us take for granted. That really struck me at a young age, bearing in mind the gulf for me, growing up in a palace, and seeing the other end of the spectrum where others were faced with huge personal challenges and were overcoming them. That was powerful to see at a young age.”  

In addition to the London office’s participation in the Sleep Out, Partner and Co-Chair of the firm’s Pro Bono Committee Christian Tuddenham and Christine are in the early stages of providing pro bono governance and risk counseling advice to Centrepoint’s board of trustees. 

To support the efforts and learn more about aiding homeless young people, please click here. The more people who know about Centrepoint, the greater their impact.

Among the many groups, organizations and clinics we support are the following: