Good *Neon Esquire* News: May 2017
If ever asked what my pet peeve is, I would have to respond, "How long do you have?" I know the idea of a pet peeve is that it is the one or two things that really irk someone above all other bothersome issues they encounter in daily life. I, unfortunately, have a number of pet peeves but if I had to make a top 5 list- power imbalances in relationships would for sure be on it. Nothing, ok, very few things, bug me more than when one person or entity yields all the power, money, control etc. in relation to another person or entity. This sort of uneven relationship is precisely the root of many problems in our society and the reason I went to law school. Whether it is a small business protecting their intellectual property against a large corporate infringer or a victim of domestic violence seeking to break out from under the control of his/her abuser, the fundamental situation is the same: absolute power corrupts absolute.
The new administration has created a slew of new power imbalances in the US giving attorneys an ample number of new pro bono clients and causes. With so many to choose from, I decided to increase my volunteer workload to include those affected by the executive order travel ban. (i.e. the Muslim ban) I was lucky enough to attend law school with immigration-law-super-star Kara Lynum of Lynum Law in St. Paul. (Seriously. She won Lawyer of the Year in 2016.) Kara, along with other local immigration and pro bono attorneys, led the charge to form the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport Rapid Response team. This team organized volunteer lawyers into shifts at the airport making sure every international flight with affected travelers would be able to receive immediate, onsite, free legal assistance if and when the need arose. I was one of those airport lawyers.
In May, my law school alma mater, William Mitchell now Mitchell Hamline, published the inaugural issue of their magazine, "Mitchell Hamline Law." For their Alumni News section they wrote a piece about how local Mitchell Hamline grads rallied in the face of these immigration orders to aid those affected by the new directives. Kara, the Rapid Response team and many other awesome alum donated their free time to help others navigate a confusing sea of ever-changing regulations. I was humbled to be included among those featured in the article:
In my time volunteering at the airport I witnessed first hand who the ban overwhelming affected: women and children. While working I met wonderful families from Somalia, Syria, Sudan and Iran who were nothing but grateful and kind in the face of fear. It was a highly rewarding experience and some day I will write about some the families I assisted. Maybe when the new administration takes a break from creating upheaval in local communities I will have time to do so. Until then, I want to thank Mitchell Hamline for the feature. And to Kara, the Rapid Response team and ALL the volunteer attorneys who are working over time to provide much needed pro bono legal services- a very hearty thank you for making lawyers great again.