Cases & Deals

Asylum granted for Serbian lesbian

Client(s) Client MS

Jones Day Washington's Tiffany Lipscomb-Jackson, Valerie Collins, and Shaleen Brunsdale represented Client MS, a lesbian who sought asylum in the U.S. after being violently assaulted at a gay pride parade in Serbia. The client, then just 14, was beaten so badly that she lost consciousness and awoke several hours later in a parking lot wearing only her underwear. When she sought help from the police, she was assaulted again.

The team was extraordinarily sensitive to her plight, and worked with her for more than a year to help her feel comfortable (or at least as comfortable as possible) telling her story. The team also convinced her to talk to a psychiatrist who provided an official diagnosis of PTSD, and then helped arrange counseling for her.

Tiffany, Valerie, and Shaleen also put together an impressive trial brief accompanied by a substantial amount of information to substantiate Client MS's claims about ongoing persecution of the LGBT community in Serbia. The voluminous package was so well done that the government conceded the client's eligibility for asylum before the hearing even started (notwithstanding a tough legal argument about the timeliness of Client MS's application). The judge was visibly relieved that the government would not insist on hearing the client's testimony, and thanked the government "for doing the right thing here." The judge was also highly complementary of the team and their efforts on behalf of the client.

The team can take extraordinary pride in providing such high-quality legal representation, and in helping the client start a new life. It was really gratifying to watch the weight fall off Client MS's shoulders as she decompressed after the hearing, and as she dared to start talking about a future in the U.S.