Mayer Brown, a leading global law firm, has been recognized as a member of Appleseed’s “Orchard of Justice,” which honors law firms that have donated $1 million in pro bono hours towards opportunity and justice for the underprivileged within the past five years. Appleseed is a nonprofit network of 17 public interest justice centers in the United States and Mexico that uncovers and corrects injustices through legal, legislative and market-based structural reform.

Mayer Brown was honored for its significant pro bono contributions to an Appleseed project that investigated the screening, protection and repatriation of the more than 15,000 unaccompanied Mexican minors who cross the border and end up in custody each year, many of whom are vulnerable to trafficking or other forms of abuse. Working with two other US law firms, Mayer Brown lawyers conducted site visits in 14 different locations in the US and Mexico, interviewing children and officials to determine whether the US is complying with requirements of the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, and whether the welfare and rights of the children are being respected in the repatriation process in Mexico.

The project’s findings were published in Appleseed’s report, “Children at the Border: The Screening, Protection and Repatriation of Unaccompanied Mexican Minors.” The report won first place for Best Investigation at the UNICEF Mexico National Awards.

“The greatest law firms seem to have the strongest commitment to pro bono service and to supporting organizations that advocate justice for all, and we are so grateful for Mayer Brown’s invaluable contribution to Appleseed,” said Appleseed President Betsy Cavendish. “Lawyers at Mayer Brown have allowed us to tackle issues like that of undocumented, unaccompanied Mexican children who are often victimized by smugglers and criminal gangs while migrating to the United States.”

The Mayer Brown team was led by Assistant Director of Pro Bono Activities Marcia Maack and Litigation & Dispute Resolution senior counsel Robert Jenkins (both Washington DC) and included: Washington DC – Antitrust & Competition partner Adrian Steel and Financial Services Regulatory & Enforcement associate Alicia Kinsey; and Chicago – Banking & Finance associate Stephanie Roark.