Blair Rinne, Boston-based White Collar Defense & Government Investigations Group associate, was named a 2020 Pro Bono Attorney of the Year for her exceptional contributions to Kids in Need of Defense (KIND). The award honors pro bono attorneys in Boston who are providing vital legal services to refugee and immigrant children who come alone to the United States in search of safety. Blair is one of the pro bono attorneys who goes above and beyond to help these children make their case for protection.

Blair has been devoting time to the representation of unaccompanied children through KIND since 2014. She has worked on seven KIND matters and has been a zealous advocate for her clients. In addition, she has provided support and mentorship to her colleagues working on their own KIND cases.

“I worked with my first KIND client for four years. On the day she received her permanent residency approval notice and I explained that she was finally getting a visa, it was so rewarding to see the joy and relief on her face."

Children who come to KIND are among the most vulnerable in society. Many have fled life-threatening violence, including gang and narco-violence in their home countries in Central America, and come to the United States in hopes of finding safety. They are not provided an attorney in their removal proceedings; without counsel, it is nearly impossible for them to navigate the U.S. immigration system.

In 2019, KIND received over 175,000 hours and $103 million in pro bono legal services, bringing its total for pro bono services to more than 880,000 hours and $475 million in pro bono services since 2009. KIND’s pro bono legal volunteers do not need immigration experience. The organization provides expert training and mentorship for the duration of the cases.