Featured News

PVH Legal Partners with Law Firm and
National Nonprofit to Represent Immigrant
and Refugee Children in Deportation Proceedings

January 23, 2019

Almost two years ago, Mark Fischer, our Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary, announced pro bono opportunity for U.S.-based members of his team: they could partner with the international law firm Jones Day and the nonprofit Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) to represent children who had entered the country alone and were facing deportation. Pro bono publico is unpaid work undertaken by lawyers "for the public good."

KIND came to PVH to explain the dire situation facing these children. Almost all of KIND's clients have fled severe violence in their home countries, where they had been threatened or attacked by gangs, abandoned, abused, exploited, or trafficked. More than 60 percent of children who enter the country alone are forced to make their claim for protection without any legal representation, which often means that they are sent back to the dangerous situations that they had risked their lives to escape. According to Syracuse University, these children are five times more likely to succeed in their petitions to stay in the US when provided with quality legal representation.

After the presentation, five PVH attorneys decided to partner with attorneys at Jones Day on three cases:

  • Mark Fischer and Samantha Dreilinger, Associate General Counsel, Global Compliance, represent Roger,[1] a teenager from rural Bangladesh. Roger fled to the US, taking a perilous trip from Bangladesh to South America and through Central America and Mexico, after his refusal to join a gang-like political party led to physical attacks and persistent threats that ultimately prevented him from attending school. Last August, a court determined that Roger met the criteria for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status ("SIJS"), which would allow him to remain in the United States legally. While the case has not officially concluded, we hope that Roger will receive his final approvals in the coming months (though the U.S. Government shutdown will likely delay the process for all of the PVH clients).
  • Karolyn Ippolito, Real Estate Counsel, and Kate O'Brien, Junior Legal Counsel, Tommy Hilfiger USA, represent Nancy, a teenager from Honduras. Nancy's mother fled to the United States when Nancy was approximately six years old. Ten years later, the gang violence in Nancy's town became so dangerous that she, too, decided to come to the United States. During one of the proceedings, Kate, only two years out of law school and without any previous courtroom experience, examined a difficult witness in front of a skeptical judge to prove Nancy had been abandoned, which is a key requirement for SIJS. The court ultimately determined that Nancy met the criteria for SIJS and she will hopefully receive her final approvals in the next year.
  • Dawn Buonocore, Vice President, Assistant General Counsel, Enforcement, Calvin Klein, with assistance from her daughter, Morgan, who is fluent in Spanish, represented Sylvia, a teenager from Honduras who fled to the United States after she had been raped repeatedly and witnessed two of her family members being shot by gangs. While a court determined that Sylvia met the requirements for SIJS last May and her approval was expected by now, Sylvia is still awaiting the official confirmation that she is able to stay in the United States.

The PVH lawyers gained deep satisfaction from providing crucial legal services for these children and also had the opportunity to work with attorneys from other PVH offices and practice areas, as well as be involved directly in courtroom proceedings, which is rare for in-house lawyers.

"Sam, Dawn, Kate and Karolyn truly took to heart PVH's commitment to corporate responsibility, including attending to the needs of children (and it was not a complete coincidence that all three clients are from countries where we source goods), and our Core Values and exercised them in a unique way by using their skills as attorneys," said Mark. "I couldn't be prouder of the work that they did for Roger, Nancy and Sylvia, and I couldn't be more appreciative of the support provided by the lawyers at Jones Day, one of our outside law firms."

Laura Tuell, Firmwide Pro Bono Counsel at Jones Day, heading the Firm's many pro bono efforts in the U.S. and internationally, also noted that, "We at Jones Day have been truly honored to work alongside lawyers from PVH to represent refugee children in need of legal services. We look forward to continuing this important work together."

[1] Real names are being withheld for confidentiality and safety reasons.