Asylum Program

Since 1983, the Asylum Program has provided legal representation for refugees who have escaped persecution and torture in their native countries bridging the gap between the Bay Area’s private bar and impoverished asylum seekers. Through maintaining mutually beneficial relationships with community organizations, the Lawyers’ Committee is regularly contacted by asylum seekers who have suffered persecution but are unable to afford attorneys to assist them in navigating the confusing and oppressive immigration process. The Program interviews these clients to evaluate their claims and assess the most advantageous course of action. If it is determined that we can assist them, clients are placed with pro bono attorneys from leading law firms and receive top-notch representation. Through this system, thousands of immigrants have been matched with stellar advocates and have secured asylum in the United States with their assistance.

Common Asylum Case Types

 Type of Case  2009  2010  2011  2012
 Gender  46%  45%  46%  16%
 Sexual  Orientation/  Gender Identity  24%  29%  22%  13%

2013-2015 Grounds / Case Types

 Type of Case  2013  2014  2015
 Particular Social Group  75.8%  83%  83%
 Race  0.7%  1%  –
 Nationality  0.7%  < 1%  –
 Religion  4%  2%  8%
 Political Opinion  18.8%  15%  8%

Types of Asylum Claims 2014



Asylum is sought for a variety of reasons, including gender and domestic violence, discrimination or abuse because of sexual orientation, religious or political persecution, and other factors. No two cases are exactly alike. We recommend that you talk to a lawyer before you make any decisions regarding applying for asylum. If you think you may be eligible for asylum, get help right away – doing so early may make your case stronger.

We are available to discuss your case and, if you meet the prescribed criteria, help find you a lawyer for free, or give you a list of lawyers in your area. Everything you say to a representative of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights is confidential and is not shared with anyone without your permission.

If you are seeking help, visit our Asylum Program Get Help Page.

To make an appointment, please call 415.543.9444 ext. 200. You can also come into our office, located at 131 Steuart Street, Suite 400, in downtown San Francisco. Click for directions.

If you have already applied for asylum, please call us before your next hearing and bring copies of:

  • Your entire asylum application
  • All immigration documents you have received

Attorney Volunteer Trainings

Lawyers’ Committee regularly hosts a variety of workshops, trainings and other support to guide and inform each pro bono attorney who does asylum work to ensure they are fully equipped to meet the needs of the client. Twice annually there is a two-day seminar that gives an overview of asylum law as well as general tips for practitioners. Also, the program holds more focused monthly trainings that educate attorneys and others on topics that range from conditions in certain regions to working with clients who have faced trauma to significant case law updates. Further, each pro bono attorney is paired with an immigration practitioner who mentors the pro bono attorney throughout the asylum process. Through these support structures, attorneys who have had little or no immigration law experience are able to successfully take an asylum case from beginning to end.

For more information about asylum cases or to become a volunteer, e-mail our volunteer staff, at

LCCRSF Webinars 

Your help providing immigration legal services to indigent refugees is needed more than ever. Video recordings of recent trainings, available after advance registration and staff approval, provide a comprehensive orientation on asylum law and procedure to assist you in preparing to take your first (or second or third) pro bono asylum case.

MCLE Credit

We offer MCLE Credit for attending seminars in person. If you would like to stay informed about seminars, trainings, and other events, please sign up for our listserv.