Lawyers Making a Difference: Kia Grant
By Kia Grant, Ropes & Gray LLP
When I took my first asylum case, I had no idea what to expect. I had done the training, but I soon realized nothing could fully prepare me for coming face-to-face with clients. It is not easy to ask someone to relive their darkest moments and explain them in excruciating detail. Despite the emotional difficulty, I continue to take new cases because it is some of the most rewarding work I have ever done.
My clients have fled persecution from Ethiopia and Cameroon, and the bases of their claims have been similar—they were exercising their rights as humans to voice their political beliefs and were imprisoned or tortured as a result. But the differing countries, political climates, and details of each person’s experiences keep the work interesting.
Each case presents a unique challenge, like dealing with a client’s faltering memory, devising ways to find objective support for the statements in the affidavit, or figuring out how to get supporting affidavits from witnesses without putting their safety at risk. These types of issues make asylum work anything but routine.
The clients I have worked with have been responsive, engaging, and incredibly kind. I can attest that there is no better feeling in the world than a client looking you in the eyes after they have been granted asylum and saying, “Thank you. You saved my life.”