On May 19, Manatt was one of three firms to receive Immigration Equality’s Safe Haven award for going “above and beyond” to win safe refuge for LGBT and HIV-positive asylum seekers. A gala for the honorees was hosted in New York City, where Manatt litigation partner Ron Blum accepted the award on the firm’s behalf.
Immigration Equality is the nation's leading LGBTQ immigrant rights organization, representing and advocating for people from around the world fleeing violence, abuse, and persecution because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or HIV status. Through the organization, Manatt has taken on a number of individual asylum matters.
Most recently, the firm led the charge on a mandamus action on behalf of 46 affirmative asylum petitioners whose interviews had not been scheduled in accordance with federal regulations, which proved to be a challenging test case since the government adopted its “first-in-first-out” process. With Blum’s support, litigation associate Jessica Shpall Rosen led a team that included associates Kishan Barot and Shoshana Speiser and paralegal Joshua Hauser in securing expedited interviews for some plaintiffs who are HIV-positive. For other HIV-affected plaintiffs, Manatt was able to obtain a notice of interview scheduled within several months.
In addition, Michael Barkow, a counsel in the firm's Advertising, Marketing and Media practice, has donated many hours assisting Immigration Equality with its legal intake process. He has also become part of the organization’s regular intake meetings, helping to spot issues and strategize.