Debevoise and Societe Generale Secure Asylum for Gay Guatemalan Man

7 February 2020

Debevoise and Societe Generale (SG Americas) lawyers together obtained asylum for Mr. N., a 29-year-old gay man from Guatemala who feared persecution based on his sexual orientation. Mr. N. was referred to Debevoise and SG Americas by Immigration Equality. In 2016, he was outed in his rural hometown and immediately received multiple death threats from members of his family and the community, which he reported to the local police. In each instance, no action was taken by law enforcement. Fearing for his life, Mr. N. sought asylum in the United States. One of the toughest challenges for the Debevoise and SG Americas team was in remotely acquiring the requisite affidavits from Mr. N.’s family and friends. After gathering evidence for a year, Mr. N’s legal team submitted his application and it was soon after approved.

Societe Generale  is a leading European financial services groups with its Americas headquarters located in New York. The bank combines financial strength and proven expertise in innovation with a strategy of sustainable growth, aiming to be the trusted partner for its clients, committed to the positive transformations of the world. 

Immigration Equality advocates for and represents lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) and HIV-positive immigrants seeking safety, fair treatment and freedom. Immigration Equality’s work impacts both the individuals they serve and the immigration system as a whole.

The Debevoise team was led by partner Bruce Yannett and pro bono counsel Jennifer Cowan, and included associates Chen Xu and Lisa Wang Lachowicz, and litigation analyst Mario Prats. Ann Turetsky, Director in the Compliance Department, SG Americas, was also part of the team.

Debevoise provides a wide array of pro bono legal services to marginalized communities and underserved populations on matters ranging from landmark international and national disputes to representing low-income individuals in the communities in which we practice and live. We also partner with clients on a range of corporate, litigation and tax pro bono matters in clinic settings and individual matters.