Documentary focusing on longtime Mayer Brown pro bono client debuts at Tribeca Film Festival
25 April 2012
The List Project to Resettle Iraqi Allies, a longtime pro bono client of leading global law firm Mayer Brown, is the focus of The List, a full-length documentary that premiered April 21 at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York. As a law firm that supports The List Project, Mayer Brown is featured in the film.
A nonprofit organization, The List Project was founded to act on the belief that the United States has a clear and urgent moral obligation to resettle to safety Iraqis who are imperiled due to their affiliation with the US military and reconstruction effort in Iraq. Through partnerships with several major law firms, including Mayer Brown, The List Project works to accomplish that goal for Iraqis who have worked as interpreters, engineers, translators and administrators with the US government and contractors in Iraq. The project is the largest single pro bono initiative ever undertaken on behalf of refugees.
“The List puts the spotlight on an essential pro bono initiative with which Mayer Brown is proud to be involved, and we hope the film generates even more awareness and assistance to resettle Iraqis who are in danger because of their affiliation with the United States,” said Marcia Tavares Maack, Mayer Brown’s Assistant Director of Pro Bono Activities who leads the firm’s team of participating lawyers.
As a founding law firm partner, Mayer Brown has been an integral part of The List Project. Since 2008, more than 100 Mayer Brown lawyers in 9 offices have donated approximately 5,500 hours to help bring more than 200 Iraqi refugees to safety.
In recognition of its work with The List Project, Mayer Brown was a co-recipient of the 2008 National Law Journal Pro Bono Award. The award honors firms that uphold the legal profession’s responsibility to ensure that people’s legal rights are not contingent on their ability to pay.
To help manage The List Project program, Mayer Brown employs Basma Zaiber, a paralegal who works closely with Ms. Maack to coordinate the firm’s work on List Project cases and serves as a cultural bridge and translator for clients. Ms. Zaiber fled Iraq in August 2005 after receiving threatening messages about her employment with the United States Agency for International Development. With the help of The List Project, she and her family were admitted to the US in February 2008.
The List documentary focuses on Kirk Johnson, the founder of The List Project who has championed the cause of America’s Iraqi allies – many of whom have been ignored by the US government. Ms. Maack is featured in the film during a scene in which she trains lawyers on how to counsel Iraqi clients seeking refugee status, prepare them for interviews and file the necessary paperwork.
Following the second showing of the film at Tribeca Film Festival on April 24, Ms. Maack participated in a panel discussion on the current state of Iraqis seeking refuge in the United States and issues surrounding post-traumatic stress disorder in soldiers and refugees with The List director Beth Murphy, Paul Rieckhoff of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, and one of the US-affiliated Iraqis featured in the documentary. The discussion was moderated by The New Yorker’s George Packer.