NEW YORK (May 17, 2012) — International law firm McDermott Will & Emery is pleased to announce that the Firm has been honored with Immigration Equality’s 2012 Safe Haven Award for its pro bono legal representation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) asylum-seekers.
Immigration Equality, a national organization fighting for equality under U.S. immigration law for LGBT people and individuals living with HIV, chose this year’s winners from the 40 elite law firms in its Pro Bono Asylum Program. In 2011, the attorneys from these firms, including attorneys from McDermott’s New York office, won asylum for 105 LGBT people and individuals living with HIV – a 99 percent success rate. The award celebrates the organization’s work to bring LGBT and HIV-positive immigrants and their families together in the United States, giving them the freedom to pursue their hopes and dreams and leave behind the abuse and inequality suffered by them in their home countries.
McDermott has won seven cases for Immigration Equality clients since 2008, including most recently, a successful claim on behalf of a gay man from Tajikistan who was harassed, beaten and set on fire by police officers and community members in his home country. In addition to these seven wins, McDermott attorneys are currently representing clients in four additional pending asylum cases referred by Immigration Equality. In each instance, the Firm’s representation is provided on a pro bono basis. McDermott’s work with Immigration Equality and its clients is done in conjunction with the Firm’s broader commitment to LGBT diversity and inclusion.
“McDermott's partnership with Immigration Equality has been a long and rewarding one,” said Lisa A. Linsky, McDermott’s partner-in-charge of LGBT Diversity and Inclusion. “We deeply appreciate receiving the 2012 Safe Haven Award and being recognized for our work. The McDermott team is committed to ensuring the safety and futures of the LGBT asylum-seekers we represent. Our clients' lives are often at stake because of the abuse, torture and harassment they suffer while in their home countries. Denials of their asylum applications and returns to their home countries can be tantamount to death sentences for these individuals.”
Members of the McDermott team who received recognition from Immigration Equality this year include Jonathan Boyles, Michael Dreznes, Toni Ann Kruse, Lisa Linsky, Ashley McCarthy, Jasmine Bonilla, Angela Phillips, and friend of the Firm, Boyan Konstantinov. Recipients were honored on May 17, 2012, at the AXA Equitable Center in New York.
McDermott Will & Emery’s commitment to diversity is founded on the belief that diversity is necessary to achieve excellence in all aspects of client service. The Firm is committed to a culture that values and nurtures diversity and appreciates its importance in attracting and retaining exceptional talent. To meet this commitment, McDermott has established diversity programs and practices which have helped the Firm to encourage a breadth of ideas, experiences, perspectives and insights that are necessary to meet the challenges of today's global economy.
About McDermott Will & Emery
McDermott Will & Emery is a premier international law firm with a diversified business practice. Numbering more than 1,000 lawyers, we have offices in Boston, Brussels, Chicago, Düsseldorf, Houston, London, Los Angeles, Miami, Milan, Munich, New York, Orange County, Paris, Rome, Silicon Valley and Washington, D.C. Extending our reach to Asia, we have a strategic alliance with MWE China Law Offices in Shanghai.