Catherine Longkumer

  • Hosted by Legal Aid Society of Metropolitan Family Services
  • Sponsored by Latham & Watkins LLP
  • Service location Chicago, Illinois
  • Law school The University of Michigan Law School
  • Issue area Human Rights, Immigrant Populations
  • Fellowship class year 2012
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Catherine advocated for survivors of human trafficking in the Chicago area by providing holistic legal services, so these individuals can recover and reintegrate into society. Catherine’s project originally was a collaboration to bring together stakeholders in the human trafficking community along with pro bono attorneys in order to help victims sue for restitution using the Illinois Predator Accountability Act. However, the need changed significantly between the project proposal and project start date. A significant provider of legal services had lost funding and was no longer able to provide free services to trafficking survivors. Therefore a huge void existed in the provision of free, quality legal services to trafficking survivors. Catherine was able to adapt her project to address all the legal issues that trafficking survivors face as a result of their victimization, including suing for restitution.

Fellowship Highlights

During her Fellowship, Catherine:

  • Provided full representation to 36 clients on issues such as immigration relief, restitution recovery, vacating convictions for crimes a trafficker forces a victim to commit, and helping victims cooperate with law enforcement in the investigation and prosecution of their traffickers
  • Trained more than 100 attorneys on remedies available to trafficking survivors and trauma-informed interviewing methods
  • Co-counseled six cases with attorneys from Latham & Watkins and worked with 12 other law firms and corporate law departments
  • Served on the Cook County Human Trafficking Task Force Steering Committee and several subcommittees
  • Raised awareness about trafficking in the Chicago community and among law enforcement agencies
  • Increased Legal Aid Society’s visibility and credibility on trafficking issues, and strengthened its relationship with law firm and corporate pro bono programs

What’s Next

Catherine is running the Human Trafficking Initiative at the Legal Aid Society of Metropolitan Family Services.

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