February 14, 2022

Asylum Granted to Transgender Salvadoran After Enduring Years of Discrimination and Abuse

Attorneys at Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP obtained an Immigration Court order granting asylum to a transgender woman from El Salvador who endured years of discrimination and abuse based on her perceived sexual orientation.

The Munger Tolles lawyers argued for relief with the support of Human Rights First attorneys who referred the case to Munger Tolles over five years ago. 

The client came to the U.S. to escape economic and physical persecution. In El Salvador, potential employers denied her economic opportunities because she is a transgender woman and she suffered numerous assaults since her childhood as a result of her feminine characteristics, according to court documents. The record showed both past persecution and a credible fear of future persecution on account of protected grounds, including the client’s membership in particular social groups recognized by governing Ninth Circuit law.

Immigration Judge Arlene Dorfman granted asylum to the firm’s client on February 14, 2022.

The Munger Tolles team was led by Sara McDermott and Ariel Teshuva, with guidance from Joseph Lee. Katey Hermann, an in-house attorney at Fox, was an active member of the team, writing a section of the trial brief and serving as judge for a mock trial. 

Pro Bono Activities

Contributing to the community through pro bono work and other forms of volunteerism is a core tenet of the culture at Munger, Tolles & Olson. The firm was one of the charter signatories to the American Bar Association’s pro bono challenge and consistently devotes more than three percent of all attorney time to delivering needed pro bono legal assistance. We are proud to be one of the select group of firms to have received the ABA’s coveted Pro Bono Publico Award.

Munger Tolles encourages its attorneys to choose pro bono matters that they care about deeply. The American Lawyer described it as “the Munger, Tolles & Olson way … a sense of ownership that extends from patriarch Ronald Olson all the way down to the first-year associates.”