On January 16, a city-wide training event on asylum law and case preparation was hosted by Mayer Brown’s New York office in partnership with Sanctuary for Families, a New York-based nonprofit dedicated to serving domestic violence victims, sex trafficking victims and their children. The oversubscribed, CLE-accredited event offered a discussion on asylum law and provided a unique opportunity for practitioners to learn from experts who have been involved in the asylum process from a variety of perspectives.

The panelists were: Archana Pyati, deputy director of the Immigration Intervention Project, Sanctuary for Families; Judge Jesse B. Christensen of the New York Immigration Court; Ashley Caudill-Mirillo, deputy director, NY Asylum Office; Philip Allen Lacovara, Mayer Brown senior counsel; and Dr. Hawthorne Smith, licensed psychologist and clinical director, Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture.

Opening remarks were provided by Mayer Brown associate Melissa Francis, who is co-leader of the firm’s Pro Bono Asylum and Immigration practice. She was followed by the event’s moderator, Archana Pyati, who provided an overview of asylum law. Deputy Director Caudill-Mirillo and Immigration Judge Christensen discussed how to effectively present an asylum claim before the asylum office and Immigration Court.  Philip Lacovara then spoke about asylum law from a pro bono attorney’s perspective, and Dr. Smith concluded the discussion by giving tips on how to properly interview survivors of torture.

In all, it was an interesting and educational evening that was meant to inspire, and make it easier for, the attendees to handle asylum cases.