COSTA MESA, Calif., February 11, 2013 – Rutan & Tucker, LLP attorneys Chelsea Epps and Natalie Samarjian, who are associates in the firm’s Trial Section, were victorious recently in a pro bono asylum case they jointly handled in conjunction with the nonprofit Public Law Center (PLC).
Epps and Samarjian won asylum in the Unites States for a young female refugee from Ethiopia who had been persecuted by the Ethiopian government. She was targeted because she participated in peaceful political protests and her father and brother were members of an opposition political group. Later the government killed her father while he was a political prisoner. Subsequently she was arrested and then abused by the Ethiopian authorities. While attempting to escape her persecutors, she fell victim to international human trafficking.
Rutan’s attorneys conducted several interviews and fact-gathering sessions with the aid of an Amharic interpreter and prepared a lengthy declaration detailing the abuses the client suffered and demonstrating that she met the legal standard for asylum. Epps and Samarjian developed the legal positions supporting asylum under the conditions in Ethiopia, prepared the forms and documents necessary to pursue asylum, and then prepared the client for a thorough interview with an asylum officer.
“We deeply appreciate the Rutan attorneys for donating their time and resources to represent a Public Law Center client,” said Munmeeth Soni, an attorney and Equal Justice Works Fellow at PLC. “Thanks to them, our client has received a new lease on life where she will be protected and secure under our laws.” Epps has had previous experience assisting people seeking asylum.
“We commend Chelsea and Natalie for providing their time and expertise in this case that had such a profound outcome for their client, and encourage all of our attorneys to consider taking a pro bono case,” said Mark B. Frazier, a partner and head of the firm’s Trial Section.
About The Public Law Center
The Public Law Center, Orange County's pro bono law firm, is committed to providing access to justice for low-income Orange County residents. Through volunteers and staff, PLC provides free civil legal services, including counseling, individual representation, community education, and strategic litigation and advocacy to challenge societal injustices. Last year alone, the Public Law Center‘s work benefitted more than 20,000 Orange County residents. It did so in large part through the efforts of over 1,200 pro bono lawyers, paralegals, law students and an array of others who, together with the center's staff, provided over 62,000 hours of free legal services worth over $20 million. More information is available at www.publiclawcenter.org.
About Rutan & Tucker LLP
Rutan & Tucker is California’s largest full-service law firm headquartered in Orange County, California with offices in Costa Mesa and Palo Alto. Primary practice areas include business and real estate litigation, corporate and securities law, labor and employment law, intellectual property, real estate, municipal and government agency law, land use law, bankruptcy, condemnation and property valuation, environmental law, and taxation and estate planning. Detailed information about the firm is available at www.rutan.com.