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Troutman Sanders Attorneys Win Asylum for Pro Bono Client

04.04.18

Washington, D.C. – April 4, 2018 – Troutman Sanders associates Brandon Almond and Lior Haas recently secured asylum on behalf of a client fleeing domestic violence from her partner in El Salvador. After prolonged beatings and rapes culminating in her being left to die in a hospital, she decided to flee to the United States. After a difficult journey and detention period, she was put in touch with Troutman Sanders in the fall of 2011 through the Tahirih Justice Center, a non-profit that helps domestic violence survivors seek asylum.

“It was an honor to help our client win asylum after what she endured in El Salvador and the uncertainty she faced throughout the drawn-out immigration proceedings,” Almond said. “A number of past and present Troutman Sanders attorneys and staff contributed to her case, and she is so thankful to have had so many good people in her corner.”

“Securing asylum, and specifically providing even the slightest bit of relief for our client after all her suffering, gives added purpose to what we at Troutman Sanders do every day. We hope our client’s perseverance inspires others,” Haas added.

Under the Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, individuals seeking asylum in the United States must apply within one year of entry. Unfortunately, because the trauma she suffered had a lasting and significant physical and mental effect, the client missed the filing deadline and was denied asylum on that basis. Troutman Sanders successfully appealed the decision to the Board of Immigration Appeals, arguing the immigration judge failed to consider that the client’s post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) warranted the “extraordinary circumstances” exception to the filing deadline.

The case was remanded back to the immigration court in 2015. After multiple court delays and canceled hearings, the client finally had her day in court. On Feb. 8, 2018, after a contentious, four-hour hearing, the court ruled she met the exception and granted her asylum. A remarkable closing by Almond sealed the deal. He concluded, asking the court, “If our client does not qualify for an exceptional circumstance, what is that exception for?”

Almond is a litigation associate in Troutman Sanders’ Washington, D.C. office. He took on the case in 2012. Lior is an associate in the firm’s Real Estate and Finance practice and became involved in the case upon joining the firm in 2015. Despite being a primarily transaction-based attorney, Lior was critical in preparing the client for the final hearing, conducting her direct examination, rebutting the government’s cross-examination and redirecting the client. S.R. Sidarth and Olga Carrera also provided invaluable assistance on the case. In total, the firm logged more than 1,000 hours to help the client win asylum.

“Brandon and Lior showed incredible determination in their efforts to win asylum for their deserving client,” said Rori Cassirer, a business litigation partner at Troutman Sanders who chairs the firm’s Pro Bono Committee. “This case is another example of the importance of our pro bono work. As a firm, we are honored to provide legal aid to those people and organizations who need it the most.”

Each year, Troutman Sanders’ attorneys dedicate thousands of pro bono hours in support of non-profits, military veterans, children, the wrongfully accused, and so many more.

About Tahirih Justice Center
Tahirih Justice Center is a national non-profit that has served over 22,000 courageous individuals fleeing violence since 1997. Our efficient, effective, and innovative model of service is now delivered from four locations, and we’re committed to serving as many immigrant women and girls as possible. Learn more at tahirih.org.

About Troutman Sanders
With a diverse practice mix, workforce and footprint, Troutman Sanders has cultivated its reputation for a higher commitment to client care for over 120 years. Ideally positioned to help clients across sectors realize their business goals, the firm’s 650 attorneys transact for growth, resolve mission-threatening disputes and navigate complex legal and regulatory challenges. See troutman.com for more information.
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