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BCLP recently secured a win in a long-running asylum case on behalf of a pro bono client and her minor son.

The client fled Honduras with her son to escape a horrifically abusive domestic relationship with a man she later learned was a senior member of a notoriously violent transnational gang. She had been threatened, beaten and raped; she also had seen a man murdered outside of her home.

Despite these compelling facts the case had a number of legal challenges. The client had no obvious ties to New York, where the case was pending, and the status of her particularized social group – a necessary element of her asylum claim – was unclear.

Associate Maryclaire Kennedy wrote a comprehensive supplemental brief addressing a change in the law and added key facts. Associate Matias Gallego-Manzano also contributed to this representation.

At the hearing, the government indicated it would cross-examine the client. As a result, Maryclaire first elicited a gripping narrative from her on direct examination, walking the judge through the horrors of living with a homicidal gang member. The government’s cross examination, which faced a sustained objection from Maryclaire, failed to establish any bar to asylum. Following a brief redirect, the judge granted asylum for the client and her son (pending his background check).

The judge thanked Maryclaire for her excellent advocacy and told the client she should be grateful for having such a highly skilled attorney in her corner. This case came to BCLP through Human Rights First, part of BCLP’s comprehensive and firmwide pro bono program allowing lawyers, trainees and paralegals around the globe give their time and legal skills to a wide array of projects to help those in need.

This document provides a general summary and is for information/educational purposes only. It is not intended to be comprehensive, nor does it constitute legal advice. Specific legal advice should always be sought before taking or refraining from taking any action.