JWB welcomed six pro bono legal fellows this summer from the Faculty of Law at the University of Hong Kong. The team’s work focused on legal research and preparing case packages for multiple clients referred by our front-line partners. We recently sat down with Jenna Yuen, who joined us in the summer and continues in the fall.
Q: What are your main responsibilities at JWB?
A: This summer, I worked on migrant worker cases referred to us by our NGO partners. With the evidence they gathered, I prepared case summaries and conducted preliminary legal analysis. Having worked on many cases over the summer, I began work on a case screening form that could be used in the future by caseworkers when they meet with potential claimants. This fall, I am working on strategic legal research.
Q: What have you gained from this experience?
A: I have had the opportunity to work alongside NGOs and law firms on actual cases and had direct contact with clients. I also learned more about the issues that migrant workers in Hong Kong face and the relevant laws that protect them. Indeed, I knew that issues of physical abuse, underpayment and overcharging of agency fees were prevalent among domestic workers, but I learned more about several unscrupulous practices involving brokers. Meanwhile, I had the opportunity to develop my professional skills through conducting legal research and preparing case packages for referral to law firms.
Q: What has been your favorite part of the fellowship?
A: Seeing the cases move forward to the point where we could refer them to pro bono lawyers was the most satisfying. It felt great to know that we were helping the victims get compensation. Working with our partners was also educational and enjoyable as the caseworkers are so knowledgeable about the problems faced by migrant workers.
Q: What are some of the the difficulties you encountered?
A: Preparing a case can be a long process. It involves collecting evidence and other background materials. And the last thing I want is for a client to decide to drop a case because of the length of time it takes to secure what may only be a small amount of compensation.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to share with us today?
A: Working at JWB has been a fun and fruitful experience. I get to learn more about NGOs, and I enjoy working with and learning from the other law students.