Almost 3,000 hours were devoted to 12 asylum cases, with victories in two of them.
The lawyer in both was associate James Sheil, who won asylum for two gay men, Sergey and Emilio, persecuted for their sexual orientation, in cases referred by Immigration Equality.
When Sergey reported being beaten by several men outside a nightclub, the police in his small Siberian town ordered him out of the station, threatening to beat him too.
Emilio, from Peru, fled after a beating by a local patrol, entered the United States illegally, and, after eight years in New York, sought legal status. He was granted an exemption from the one-year asylum filing deadline because he had post-traumatic stress disorder stemming from his abuse in Peru and his HIV status.
Sheil notes that the cases were time-intensive because they required showing both an objective fear of persecution based on sexual orientation and a subjective fear of persecution based on the client's experiences. Thus, they entailed compiling evidence of the country's mistreatment of gay people combined with information on the client's life story showing the basis for his fear of returning.
Sheil calls it "particularly rewarding when we are able to secure asylum, and a new lease on life, for our client and to see the difference that is made in this one life." Sergey and Emilio are now in college and free to live openly as gay men.
On a more local scale, Natalya Johnson was one of the McCarter lawyers giving advice and drafting court papers at a housing and consumer clinic that has been operating out of the Hall of Records in Newark since 2010, when the firm teamed up with in-house counsel from Prudential.
Most cases involve landlord and debt-collection disputes.
Johnson enjoyed the chance to help those without resources and the immediacy of drafting papers to be filed down the hall that same day.
In the transactional realm, real estate partner John Galluccio continued his decade-long work helping Habitat for Humanity Newark acquire, develop and sell homes to low-income people. He drafts agreements, does closings, gives advice and deals with disputes that might crop up, aided when necessary by other McCarter attorneys, for example, when tax issues arise.