Litigation Team Wins Asylum for Refugee from El Salvador

In The News
April 15, 2011
Colleen A. Conry
A Ropes & Gray litigation team won asylum for a refugee from El Salvador in March. The client, a gay man, had suffered harassment and discrimination for most of his life in El Salvador due to his homosexuality. His situation worsened in recent years as he became a more visible member of the gay community through his work with an outreach organization focused on HIV prevention. He began to suffer routine attacks by members of MS-13, a multi-national gang with strong ties to Central America and a reputation for violence. In early 2010, the client received several extortion notes and death threats from members of MS-13. He had known four gay friends who were murdered by MS-13 during the previous couple of years. Fearing for his life, and unable to turn to the Salvadoran police, who routinely fail to protect homosexuals, the client fled to the United States, where he was referred to Ropes & Gray by Human Rights First.

Ropes & Gray helped the client file his application for asylum and prepare for his interview with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. In preparation for his asylum interview, the team drafted a declaration for the client, a legal brief in support of his application, and a country conditions report detailing the persecution of homosexuals in El Salvador. On March 30, 2011, the client’s application for asylum was approved. The case was challenging because immigration courts deny asylum to more than 90% of applicants from El Salvador.

The Ropes & Gray litigation team was led by Washington, D.C.-based partner Colleen Conry.

Ropes & Gray and its lawyers take seriously their commitment to public service. In 2010, the firm’s attorneys devoted more than 84,000 hours to pro bono clients, ranging from transactional work for nonprofits to cases for individuals referred by not-for-profit legal service providers. In recent months, Ropes & Gray attorneys have assisted political refugees from Rwanda, Cameroon, Ethiopia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and a bisexual, married HIV-positive man from Ghana with immigration and asylum issues.


Colleen A. Conry
Colleen A. Conry
Retired Partner