GJI tips its hat to the dedicated legal professionals working pro bono to eliminate forced and early marriage in the United States!  Tahirih Justice Center‘s Director of Public Policy, Jeanne Smoot, told the Pro Bono Institute’s PBEye that pro bono will play a pivotal role in developing a U.S. national response to forced marriage:

The United States lags more than a decade behind the United Kingdom and a number of other countries in dealing with forced marriage.  Because the U.S. movement to address the problem is being led by nongovernmental agencies with limited resources, our pro bono partners are absolutely critical to amplifying our capacity and enabling us to make rapid progress… The pro bono work they’re doing on forced marriage is especially rewarding because this is uncharted terrain in the United States and we face incredibly complex legal and policy challenges to addressing the problem.  We have a tremendous amount of work ahead, and we have to work quickly because the lives of thousands of young women facing forced marriages hang in the balance.

Pro bono attorney Ella Shenhav added, “It’s very satisfying to be working towards something that can actually change people’s lives.  [This project] will affect thousands of people . . . and give a voice to women and girls who haven’t had a voice.” 

Kudos to Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo P.C.; Jones Day; Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP; Hunton & Williams LLP; K&L Gates LLP; Latham & Watkins LLP; Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP; and Kirkland & Ellis LLP!  And, special thanks from GJI to the attorneys of Kilpatrick Townsend, whose invaluable pro bono legal support empowers us and advances our mission.

READ MORE: Forced Marriage in the U.S., The PBEye, Pro Bono Institute (January 3, 2012).