MARCH 31, 2023 – A 39-year-old Caribbean man who was brutally attacked by police in his home country and subjected to death threats because of his sexual orientation, was granted asylum this week by an immigration judge in New York, thanks to dedicated pro bono representation from Jin Kim, an associate at Davis Wright Tremaine LLP.
"I'm elated at this outcome," said Kim. "My client has spent more than a decade under the cloud of removal proceedings, even while he has worked and been a contributing, law-abiding resident of this country. As an immigrant and naturalized U.S. citizen myself, I am so happy that my client will now get to join me in this incredible journey."
The asylum decision came following a four-hour virtual hearing on March 29, during which Kim advocated on behalf of his client, conducted direct examination, and defended cross-examination by counsel for the Department of Homeland Security. After the judge announced his decision, the government agreed not to appeal.
Kim first began representing this client in 2020 while an associate at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP. Kim's own family had arrived in the U.S. from Korea less than two decades before. Their green card process was delayed, and their movement restricted, due to the post-9/11 political climate, an experience that made a big impression on Kim.
"When my grandfather passed away in Korea, we were unable to attend the funeral," Kim recalls. After graduating from Yale University, Kim went on to attend Harvard Law School, where he joined the immigrant and refugee clinic and represented two asylum seekers in removal proceedings.
Upon joining Davis Wright's financial services practice in 2022, Kim assumed lead attorney responsibilities for his Caribbean client. He has since devoted more than 100 pro bono hours to the case.
"I'm deeply gratified to see my client relieved of the fear of being returned to a hostile home country," said Kim, a member of Davis Wright's LGBTQ+ affinity group. "We lawyers always need days like this to continue what we do."
Said Joanna Plichta Boisen, chief pro bono and social impact officer at Davis Wright: "I couldn't be more proud of Jin for securing this result, which took devotion, exceptional legal skills, perseverance, and so much heart. Not only did Jin make access to justice possible for an at-risk immigrant to our country, he provided the crucial protections this client needed to alter his life for the better, forever."
Kim's client in this matter was assisted by a number of current and former Paul, Weiss attorneys. The client was referred by Human Rights First.
About Davis Wright Tremaine
Davis Wright Tremaine LLP is an AmLaw 100 law firm with more than 700 lawyers representing clients based throughout the United States and around the world. The firm is widely recognized as a national pro bono leader. Learn more at www.dwt.com/probono.