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Get to Know Director’s Pro Bono Award 2020 Honoree Jessa DeGroote

Get to Know Director’s Pro Bono Award 2020 Honoree Jessa DeGroote
February 12, 2021
At Ice Miller LLP, pro bono work is one of our greatest responsibilities.

To recognize the incredible pro bono efforts of those at Ice Miller, each year Director of Pro Bono Activities Diane Menashe selects five honorees to receive the “Director’s Pro Bono Award.” The Firm donates $500 to the nonprofit selected by each honoree.

The criteria for selection by the Director are as follows:
  1. Total hours of pro bono engagement for the year;
  2. Diversity of the pro bono work handled by the individual;
  3. The individual’s personal and professional growth from pro bono engagement;
  4. The initiative and leadership shown through the individual’s pro bono engagement; and
  5. The impact of the individual’s pro bono work on the community.
Let’s get to know 2020 honoree Jessa DeGroote.

Jessa’s 2020 pro bono work involved successfully petitioning U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for special immigrant juvenile (SIJ) status for a young client from Honduras. Jessa and the Ice Miller team, including fellow honoree Maria Flores, overcame a challenge to the jurisdiction of the state court to issue the guardianship appointment necessary to obtaining SIJ status from USCIS. Ice Miller will continue to represent the client in submission of an application for permanent residency.

In addition, Jessa is involved with a team representing a prisoner who has suffered from a serious medical condition for years caused by a testicular cyst. The prison system has refused to allow the client to be evaluated by a urologist, despite the persistence of the cyst and the recommendation of multiple medical providers. The team deposed each of the defendants and their claimed medical expert. They are now preparing the client’s case for trial.

“Through my pro bono work, the Firm has demonstrated its commitment to helping those in need in our community during an especially difficult period,” said Jessa. “My pro bono work provided me the first opportunity to personally take a deposition and to depose an expert witness. Most importantly, it allowed me to help serve people in need with the support and resources of the Firm. All in all, it has been a true win-win experience.”

Congratulations to Jessa on a job well done in 2020. She selected Indiana Legal Services to receive a $500 contribution. Indiana Legal Services is a not-for-profit law firm and the largest provider of free civil legal assistance to eligible low-income people throughout the state of Indiana. Click here to learn more about Indiana Legal Services.

Learn more about Jessa’s fellow Director’s Pro Bono Award honorees here: Maria Flores, Onica MatsikaVincent Mora and Kishala Srivastava.

Learn more about Ice Miller’s pro bono work here.

This publication is intended for general information purposes only and does not and is not intended to constitute legal advice. The reader should consult with legal counsel to determine how laws or decisions discussed herein apply to the reader's specific circumstances.

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