PBA President Kathleen Wilkinson’s Statement on Ukraine: Ways to Help and a Call for Action

HARRISBURG (March 15, 2022) – Pennsylvania Bar Association President Kathleen D. Wilkinson has issued the following statement requesting that members offer their assistance to the people of Ukraine:

“As the days of Vladimir Putin’s directed Russian attacks on Ukraine have turned into weeks, many of us are continuing to search for ways we might help those trapped in or attempting to escape the ravages of war. The death toll continues to rise and among those killed are innocent children and elders. Three million people have left Ukraine, most of whom are mothers and children. 

“The Pennsylvania Bar Association, including its Immigration Law Committee, its Civil and Equal Rights Committee and its Legal Services to the Public Committee, among others, have long advocated for civil rights and for providing pro bono legal assistance to those in need. Pennsylvania is home to more than 122,000 Ukrainians and Ukrainian-Americans. Pennsylvania has the second highest number of Ukrainian residents among the 50 states. Pennsylvania also has deep commercial relationships with Ukraine. Many Pennsylvania lawyers and paralegals have Ukrainian heritage. 

“I am encouraging PBA members to consider demonstrating their concern and support for the people of Ukraine by serving as volunteers for a new pro bono effort. U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has officially designated Ukraine for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). TPS is a form of immigration relief offered to foreign nationals in the United States whose home countries are considered unsafe. 

“The Pennsylvania Bar Association Immigration Law Committee is preparing to present a training session on Temporary Protected Status so that Pennsylvania lawyers can be called into action should Ukrainian immigrants need help upon their arrival to our commonwealth. The training session will be completed via Zoom. The date and time for the session will be announced soon. If you are interested in participating in this future training, please contact David Trevaskis, PBA pro bono coordinator. Send an email to [email protected] with the text “Ukrainian TPS” in the subject line. You will be contacted with more information when it is available.

“If you are unable to give of your time to help and you have not already done so, please consider offering your financial support to these organizations or to others providing aid to Ukrainians:

“The PBA is committed to the rule of law, to basic human and civil rights and to the independent sovereignty of Ukraine. Now is the time to demonstrate support through action, be it by volunteering to offer pro bono legal service and/or supporting the organizations that are directly aiding Ukrainians. Thank you for your consideration of these efforts.”

Founded in 1895, the Pennsylvania Bar Association strives to promote justice, professional excellence and respect for the law; improve public understanding of the legal system; facilitate access of legal services; and serve the lawyer members of the state’s largest organized bar association.