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October 12, 2006

Baker & Daniels to Host Asylum Law Training in Fort Wayne

The Fort Wayne office of Baker & Daniels LLP will be the site of asylum law training Nov. 10 from 1 to 3 p.m. The session will be led by the staff of the National Immigrant Justice Center in Chicago. Baker & Daniels is hosting the event as a pro bono project.

Substantive asylum law, current issues in asylum law and procedures in handling an asylum case will be discussed. Training is geared toward lawyers in asylum law and immigration law, but the session is open to all attorneys at no cost. Before the training, lawyers can meet National Immigrant Justice Center staff from noon to 1 p.m. during lunch, which also is open to all attorneys at no cost.

Baker & Daniels, which hosted a similar asylum law training session Sept. 28 in its downtown Indianapolis office, is working with the National Immigrant Justice Center to provide legal assistance to asylum-seekers in Indiana. Asylum-seekers generally are foreign nationals who have fled their homes to escape religious, ethnic or political persecution. U.S. law provides ways for persecuted immigrants to obtain lawful residency in this country, but the process can be confusing to federal law officials as well as immigrants, who may speak no English, have limited education or are unacquainted with our legal system.

There are several asylum seekers in Fort Wayne who currently need assistance, according to a Baker & Daniels spokesperson. With many of the cases involving French speaking immigrants, any lawyers who are fluent in French are particularly encouraged to attend the Nov. 10 session.

Elsewhere, the Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic of Indianapolis has assisted at least 20 asylum cases over the last year and the National Immigrant Justice Center has represented about 12 cases in Indiana, according to Matt Lamkin, a Baker & Daniels associate. Lamkin believes there could be many more unknown cases throughout the state. Often times, people don't know they qualify to apply for asylum or they don't have access to legal representation, Lamkin said.

The National Immigrant Justice Center ensures human rights protections and access to justice for immigrants, refuges and asylum seekers through direct legal services, policy reform, impact litigation and public education. With five offices in the greater metropolitan Chicago area, the center has the only program in the country that provides both comprehensive legal immigration services and reform-driven advocacy and litigation through a number of projects.

For more information or to attend the training in Fort Wayne, contact Baker & Daniels partner Marty Lemert via e-mail at martha.lemert@bakerd.com. Lawyers interested in asylum services should contact the Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic at www.nclegalclinic.org or National Immigrant Justice Center at www.immigrantjustice.org.
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