Pro Bono Spotlight - Katie Thomas

After attending a training hosted by RMIAN, Katie Thomas turned the shock and frustration she felt in the wake of the 2016 presidential election into action. RMIAN connected Katie with her pro bono client, Luis, and, despite her accomplished career in the legal field, Katie felt intimidated at practicing in an entirely new area of law and at testing her litigation skills in a case with such high stakes. She had to learn the complexity of the immigration legal system, navigate the logistics of the detention center, and manage an entirely different kind of relationship with a client with overwhelming needs that were often out of her control. 
RMIAN provided Katie with a memo of Luis’s case and also paired her with a mentor for technical guidance. Katie worked tirelessly with her paralegal Tamara Gaedtke to overcome the challenges of Luis's case. Tamara had felt helplessness while listening to the hostile rhetoric on immigration coming from Washington D.C. and she did not hesitate at the chance to work alongside Katie to fight for Luis' rights. When Katie heard that Luis's deportation order had been reversed, she and Tamara literally jumped and danced in her office at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. "It made me feel like I positively impacted one person's life," Katie says. 
In addition to the reward of changing someone's life, she also recognizes the professional development she found in being able to practice in a different area of law. "Do it!" she says to anyone considering participating in RMIAN's Pro Bono Attorney Program. "The work that RMIAN does is saving lives," Katie says, "The impact of your work is real and visible."