Author: Sullivan, Molly

Daniel L. Gottfried ’04 Appointed as Enfinity Global’s General Counsel

Enfinity Global announced the appointment of Daniel L. Gottfried ’04 as their new General Counsel, where he will have responsibility over their legal affairs and internal and external legal teams across the world. Before joining Enfinity Global, Gottfried was a partner at Day Pitney LLP, where he specialized in structuring business agreements. 

Francesco C. Mioli ’17 Appointed to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee

Francesco C. Mioli ’17 has been appointed to the Diversty, Equity & Inclusion Committee at the law firm Robinson & Cole. This committee strives to foster a welcoming working environment for employees who come from diverse backgrounds. Mioli is an associate at the firm, and serves on their Real Estate & Development Group. He is licensed to practice law in Connecticut and New York.

Asylum for Gender-Based Forms of Persecution, February 2016

At another Asylum Office hearing in February 2016, Tracy Bempong ’16 and Harrison Smith ’17 won asylum for a woman from Gambia, who was twice subjected to FGM, once at age 14 and then again when she was about to enter into an arranged marriage.  In June 2015, Kate Peccerillo ’16 won grants of asylum for two teenage girls from a country in West Africa who were sent by their parents (who, like the girls, were opposed to FGM) to visit their paternal grandparents in Connecticut in order to protect them from repeated and increasingly insistent attempts by a relative to abduct them for forcible FGM.  All of these cases required sensitive interviewing of the clients, close collaboration with medical, mental health and country conditions experts, and legal briefs that navigated complex developments in the case law. 

Asylum for Gender-Based Forms of Persecution, February 2016

Several Clinic cases involved asylum for women who underwent or faced the imminent threat of female genital mutilation (FGM), a harmful and painful practice used to control women’s sexuality.  Even when officially illegal, governments in many countries where FGM is common do little or nothing to prevent it.  In February 2016, Lisa Herrera ’17 and R.J. Hine ’17 successfully represented a West African woman and her five-year-old daughter at a hearing before the Asylum Office.  The mother had not undergone FGM as a child and was strongly opposed to it.  She married a man whose father was a village chief who was strongly committed to maintaining the traditional practice.  When she was five months pregnant, her father-in-law had her abducted to his village, where she was forcibly held down and circumcised with a knife, with no anesthesia.  She was unable to walk for days; ever since, intercourse has been painful for her and childbirth difficult.  When her father-in-law and others in the family started threatening to abduct her daughter for FGM, she, her husband, and their children fled the country and sought asylum in the U.S.  Both mother’s and daughter’s applications were granted. 

Asylum for LGBT People Facing Persecution

In a case held up due to scheduling backlogs in the U.S. Asylum Office, Jon-Marc LaRue Zitzkat ’15 and Joshua MacDonald ’15 prepared asylum filings for a gay man from El Salvador who faced near-constant abuse growing up in his home country.  He could not go out in public without people taunting, harassing, and assaulting him.  At age 17 he was raped, leaving him HIV-infected.  In 2012, when a close friend who was gay was beaten to death, he fled to the United States.  Once here, he struggled as an undocumented person battling AIDS.  In preparing his asylum application and supporting evidence and arguments, Josh and Jon-Marc had to make the case that extraordinary circumstances excused their client from the usual requirement of filing for asylum within a year after entering the U.S., as well as proving that he continues to face the risk of persecution in his home country due to his homosexuality and medical condition.  Jon-Marc, now a graduate in law practice, is continuing to represent the client pro bono.

Asylum for LGBT People Facing Persecution, March 2016

In March 2016, Laura Boyle ’17 and Qianli You ’16 won asylum for a gay man from Jamaica after advocating for him at a hearing in the DHS Asylum Office.  In Jamaica, where anti-gay violence is rampant, their client had tried to hide his homosexuality by marrying a woman and having a child.  After being “outed” by a man with whom he was having a relationship, his homosexuality became widely known, and he was harassed in the streets with homophobic slurs, received death threats, and twice was chased by men throwing stones and wooden sticks.  When he went to the police, he was told that they would not investigate threats against a “battyman.”  After coming to the U.S. on a visa to visit family, he received further news of serious death threats, and decided to apply for asylum.