Maria Catana is fluent in Romanian and German - English is her third language. “I moved to Washington 17 years ago from Romania,” she explained. Now a Litigation Paralegal, Maria was quick to get involved when David Zapolsky, Amazon Senior Vice President and General Counsel, founded Amazon Legal's Pro Bono Program.
“Providing legal services to those unable to pay gives us new opportunities to serve and learn about our community, and by extension our customers,” explained David.
“We are helping these kids live the American dream.”
Over the past few months, Amazon lawyers and legal support professionals have been donating their time to work closely with young adults as part of the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) policy.
Amazon partners with local law firms to participate in the DACA clinics. At these events, “we do mostly document drafting, help these teenagers fill out paperwork correctly, make sure their dates are right,” explained Maria.
At a recent DACA clinic, Michael Deal, Vice President and Associate General Counsel, helped a teenager who had already been admitted to the University of Washington. She needed DACA relief to receive a work permit so she could help pay for her own college tuition.
“We are helping these kids live the American dream. It’s just one small way to help them take the next step, but if we don’t help with that crucial step, they may not be able to take another,” said Michael. He also added that this type of work is important for his team too – in this case, learning more about immigration law. “It’s our gift to give back as a result of our training at Amazon,” he said.
“We are fortunate to work at Amazon,” added Maria. “And as we get more involved in our community, it will lead to great things.”
Read this post about the team's volunteer legal work to help fire fighters, police officers, and other first responders.