In the middle of the Super Bowl last Sunday, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr partners Reginald Brown and Jennifer O’Connor were contacted by the Texas-based nonprofit Liberty Legal Institute. The group wanted to know if the two lawyers could take on a suddenly high-profile client: an Amarillo, Texas, construction worker, Jim Allen, one of 10 American Baptists held in a Port-au-Prince jail and charged with allegedly abducting 33 Haitian children.

Allen and his fellow missionaries were arrested on Jan. 30 after they were found to have taken the children across the border into the Dominican Republic. Until Tuesday evening, neither Allen nor the rest had been allowed to communicate with their families or outside counsel.

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