Chijioke E. Offor Through participation in the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program and with support and resources from his firm, Jones Day, Chijioke “Chiji” E. Offor focuses on litigation-related pro bono matters. From landlord-tenant issues to international child abduction disputes, Offor is making an impact in Texas. With a degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School, what brought you to Texas? My practice involves intellectual property law, with a focus on patent litigation. The Eastern District of Texas has one of the nation’s busiest patent litigation dockets. The firm’s Dallas-based IP practice, which has allowed me to learn from skilled litigators in complex patent litigation matters, was the main reason for my relocation. Do you recognize any pro bono demands specific to the Dallas area? One pro bono demand that seems to go unrecognized is the issue of in-school ticketing [that involves students being issued citations by campus police officers]. Dallas attorneys could contribute significantly in this area, but the extensive use and effects of ticketing are not often discussed in the legal community. What are some of the challenges that come with pro bono work? Attorneys at times must separate the personal and emotional aspects of the case from the facts on which the case will turn. This is challenging. Are there any pro bono cases that you find especially memorable? My most memorable case was a complex, three-day federal trial to remedy an international child abduction under the Hague Convention. [It] was a cross-border, multilingual case and required collaboration among several pro bono organizations to secure the return of a 5-year-old to her mother in Mexico. Our team handled discovery and several depositions in the U.S., and I met with our client in Monterrey, Mexico, to defend her deposition and prepare her to testify at trial by video conference. A fellow Jones Day attorney, Mimi Yu, and I tried the case and achieved a great result for our client. Before our client’s daughter boarded the bus with her grandmother to return to her mother in Mexico, she gave us both a big hug. She had not seen her mother in over a year and was excited to return home. What advice do you have for someone who wants to start doing pro bono work? Pursue pro bono opportunities that deal with issues about which you are passionate and, if possible, opportunities relevant to your practice.
Published by State Bar of Texas. View All Articles.
This page can be found at http://mydigimag.rrd.com/article/ATJ+Pro+Bono+Champion/1750386/215648/article.html.