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This startup streamlines the pro bono work of lawyers, including those fighting for immigrants at the border

Felicity Conrad and Kristen Sonday were on very different paths until three years ago. Conrad was an associate at the powerhouse law firm Skadden Arps. Meanwhile, Sonday, a Princeton grad and the first person in her family to go to college, was reflecting on the several years she’d spent with the U.S. Department of Justice in Mexico City, working to extradite fugitives. As it happens, both were coming to similar conclusions about the U.S. legal system, including that it’s especially challenging for people who don’t speak English. For Conrad, an opportunity to litigate a pro bono asylum case would set her on a path of wanting to do more for people fleeing persecution from their own countries. For Sonday, the experience of working with foreign governments had a similar impact. Perhaps it’s no wonder that soon after they were introduced by a mutual friend, they decided to create Paladin, a New York-based SaaS business that today helps legal teams sign up for pro bono opportunities, enables coordinators to track the lawyers’ work, and which captures some of the stories and impact that the lawyers are making through their efforts. This last piece is particularly important, as the software helps legal departments see the return on investment for their attorneys’ donated time. The company’s offering is timely, including for legal departments like that of Verizon, which has 900 attorneys and a global pro bono program that it uses Paladin to help manage. (Verizon owns AOL, which owns TechCrunch.) Lyft, a newer client, has a 50-person legal department and recently launched its own pro bono team. Given how quickly immigration and other policies are being changed under the Trump administration and uneven guidance from Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the need for legal help is growing by the day. For example, Lyft — which is among a long line of tech companies to speak out in support of immigrants’ rights — is committing some of its lawyers to reuniting families that have been separated at the southern U.S. border, says Conrad. One question is how scalable Paladin’s offering is. The biggest challenge for the…

“Visibility” — A Powerful Lesson on DACA and The American Dream from @LeonKrauze

León Krauze from Univisión gave an impassioned keynote presentation at The Upfront Summit on the topic of “invisibility” of immigrant workers in our society. It moved people to tears, was widely Tweeted and several people asked me to share this video. Invisibility. The millions of immigrant workers who silently wash dishes in restaurants, are prep cooks, pick the agriculture that feeds us, build our houses, clean our houses, watch our kids and do our gardening are vilified as criminals by those currently in power to exploit the fears of working-class white, non-Hispanic, Americans. Invisibility. Our system works on under-the-table payments of below-market wages for jobs that our non-Hispanic citizens don’t want to do and in a country where people our unemployment rate is already so low that some economists are warning about inflation due to full employment. We know the immigrants are there. As a society we’re happy for the cheap labor and hard work yet they’re the first people vilified when a scapegoat is needed. Invisibility. As a Jewish person I know something about this scapegoating because it is the history of my people for 2,000+ years including the Pogroms in Eastern Europe that cause my family to escape using fake passports and wind up in South America (Colombia) in search of a better life. So the current race-baiting by this administration hits me directly on both fronts. It is not sufficient for well-meaning people in the administration to stand by and allow racism to emanate from the White House in the name of getting tax cuts or lower regulations. We have an obligation to speak up or eventually they will come for you. Or as León said in his speech embedded below: “Invisibility of the powerless leads to their suffering, prosecution and sometimes outcomes far more tragic The Holocaust [was] in part was due to the tragedy of evil left unspoken for far too long.” https://medium.com/media/a066c286b5fae375565c908ffb9aa99b/href I’m tired of hearing people on social media speak of “virtue signaling,” a term meant to silence well-meaning people from speaking the truth about injustices done to immigrants, African Americans, the LGBTQ community or speaking up on gender…

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