Are you (or your law firm) thinking about taking on a pro bono asylum case? Hear how three commercial litigators at Forman Watkins, with the guidance and support of the Mississippi Center for Justice, worked on two pro bono asylum cases. What drew them to take on this kind of pro bono case? What were their “takeaways”? What was the experience like for them both personally and professionally?
FEATURED IN THIS EPISODE
Courtney C. Hunt
Courtney Choi Hunt is an attorney at Forman Watkins & Krutz LLP, where she practices in a variety of areas including product and premises liability, commercial litigation, and property law. Her practice encompasses work at the pre-litigation, trial, and appellate levels. She has been recognized as a Mid-South Rising Star, based on peer recognition and professional achievement.
Courtney serves on Forman Watkins’ pro bono committee, which facilitates and oversees the firm’s pro bono , and devotes considerable time to her own pro bono service, which has included work in immigration, education, and criminal matters. Originally from Southern California, she is a graduate of Smith College and Harvard Law School. She is now a proud resident of Jackson, Mississippi, where she lives with her husband and two young children.
Amelia S. McGowan
Amelia Steadman McGowan is the Immigration Campaign Director at the Mississippi Center for Justice. Amelia is also an adjunct professor at Mississippi College School of Law, where she teaches Immigration Law and has directed the school’s Immigration Clinic since its founding in 2015. Amelia previously worked at Catholic Charities of Jackson, where she served as the Program Director of the agency’s immigration legal services program. Amelia focuses her practice on asylum appellate representation, representing clients before the Board of Immigration Appeals as well as the Fifth, Ninth, and Eleventh Circuits, as well as the U.S. Supreme Court.
In addition to her direct client representation, Amelia has also worked to coordinate and mentor Mississippi pro bono attorneys to represent Mississippi immigrants in removal proceedings as well as organize community outreach and education sessions on immigration-related topics throughout the state.
Amelia is a graduate of Tulane University, where she received her J.D. and M.A. in Latin American Studies, as well as the University of Southern Mississippi, where she earned her B.A. in History and Spanish and participated in study abroad/cultural exchange programs in Vietnam and Panama. Amelia is fluent in Spanish and proficient in Brazilian Portuguese.
Mitch McGuffey is a Partner at Forman Watkins & Krutz LLP. His practice focuses on various areas of litigation, including complex commercial, product liability, and environmental litigation. Mitch serves as part of a national coordinating counsel team at Forman Watkins providing a cohesive litigation, discovery, trial, and resolution strategy for multiple Fortune 500 companies. Mitch’s diverse litigation practice also includes work as appellate counsel in jurisdictions across the country and representation of coaches at multiple institutions during NCAA enforcement investigations and hearings. His comprehensive litigation practice allows him to work as counsel to both plaintiffs and defendants.
In addition, Mitch was a co-drafter of Forman Watkins’ pro bono policy and serves a member of the firm’s Pro Bono Committee, which oversees the firm’s partnerships and pro bono efforts. He counts among his career highlights the variety of pro bono work he has done throughout his career, representing asylum seekers, tenants facing foreclosure, and death row exonerees seeking assistance with a variety of issues.
Mitch is married to a wonderful and talented wife and is father to three children, two bright young women and a bouncing baby boy. In his community he serves on an oversight committee for Jackson Public Schools and attends Redeemer Presbyterian Church.
Mitch received his J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law and holds degrees in graphic design and business administration from Auburn University.
Peyton Smith is a Partner with Forman Watkins & Krutz LLP. He is licensed to practice in Mississippi and Louisiana, and his practice focuses on commercial and products liability litigation in those states and other states across the country. Peyton has been recognized by The Best Lawyers in America®: Ones to Watch in Commercial and Mass Tort Litigation, and he has also been selected by Super Lawyers as a Rising Star in Louisiana and the Mid-South.
Prior to joining Forman Watkins & Krutz, Peyton served as a judicial law clerk on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Peyton obtained his law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. During law school, Peyton worked International Justice Mission in Uganda, the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office in Boston, and the Legal Aid Justice Center in Charlottesville, Virginia.