October 15, 2009


New York City Attorney Donates Legal Services to Help Renowned Pakistani Musician Receive Asylum

To commemorate the first annual Pro Bono Week (October 25-31), the New York State Bar Association has launched a new campaign called The Good We Do to recognize the significant contributions made by the scores of attorneys across the state who donate their time, services and expertise to meet the ever-growing legal needs of low-income people and others who have been hard hit by the economic downturn.  Among the attorneys being singled out by the Association is David J. Ward of New York City.

An associate at DLA Piper, Ward took on the case of famed Pakistani musician Muhammad Haroon Khan, also known as Haroon Bacha, whose songs of peace and resistance to war provoked death threats to him and his family from the Taliban.  Realizing that staying in Pakistan was not an option, Khan fled and sought asylum in New York in 2008. 

Through DLA Piper's Pro Bono Coordinator Richard L. Gruenberger, Ward soon heard about Khan's plight. Though only in practice for five years, Ward had experience working on asylum cases and jumped at the chance to help Khan. Dedicating countless hours, Ward was able to help Khan obtain asylum in the United States, saving his life and allowing him to continue his successful music career. Recently, Khan's family also received asylum and will soon join him in New York.

Ward said, "This really was a case of life and death. To be able to help a great person like Haroon has been really gratifying."

New York State Bar Association President Michael E. Getnick (Getnick Livingston Atkinson & Priore, LLP of Utica and of counsel to Getnick & Getnick of New York City), said, "Increasingly, more and more New Yorkers and worthy non-profit organizations, are finding it harder to keep their heads above water as they try to navigate our legal system.  Whether in immigration matters, foreclosure cases, or child custody issues, every New Yorker should have equal access to justice.  The State Bar is proud to salute attorneys, like David Ward, who truly live the words, and justice for all."
A graduate of University of Virginia and the University of Michigan Law School, Ward now practices in the areas of international dispute resolution, general commercial litigation, and reinsurance.

Founded in 1876, the 76,000-member New York State Bar Association is the official statewide organization of lawyers in New York and the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. The State Bar's programs and activities have continuously served the public and improved the justice system for more than 130 years.