Jennifer L. Colyer
is special counsel in the Litigation Department, and resident pro bono counsel in the New York office. She joined the Firm in 1993 and became special counsel in 2000.
As pro bono counsel, Ms. Colyer is responsible for directing the overall pro bono program and supervising individual pro bono projects handled by other attorneys at the Firm. Ms. Colyer specializes in immigration and criminal defense and LGBT rights cases. In 2010, she was counsel to the attorney for the child in the landmark case of Debra H.
v. Janice R.
, in which the New York Court of Appeals gave effect to a lesbian couple's Vermont civil union to find that the child had two legal parents. On the immigration front, Ms. Colyer has extensive experience in asylum, VAWA, U-Visa and cancellation of removal cases and has won asylum based on political opinion, sexual orientation, HIV status and other social group claims.
She also handles family-based immigration petitions. For the past ten years, Ms. Colyer has defended individuals facing a broad array of criminal charges in federal court.
Ms. Colyer is a frequent speaker on pro bono topics and has been a guest lecturer for the Pro Bono Management Seminar at Columbia Law School.
In addition, her extensive litigation experience includes a broad range of civil matters as well as substantial work on investigations brought by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, United States Attorney's office and other criminal and internal investigations.
Honors & Awards
In May 2018, Ms. Colyer spoke about current developments in immigration law at the ABA/NLADA Equal Justice Conference. In February 2018, she was presented with the Commitment to Justice Award by the organization Her Justice, for her immigration work with survivors of domestic violence. Also in 2018, Ms. Colyer was honored by Unchained at Last for her work with women who were forced into marriage. In May 2016, Ms. Colyer spoke about partnerships between law firms and legal services organizations at the ABA/NLADA Equal Justice Conference. In 2014, Ms. Colyer was honored with the Safe Haven Award from Immigration Equality. In June 2014, Ms. Colyer was recognized as one of 500 leading lawyers in America by Lawdragon. In May 2014, Ms. Colyer spoke at the ABA Equal Justice Conference about law firm/public school legal clinics. In February 2014, Ms. Colyer received the Pro Bono Liaison Award from Her Justice. In June 2011, Ms. Colyer was honored by the New York City Bar Association for her work on behalf of members of the LGBT community. In 2010, she was recognized by the Legal Aid Society for her work representing inmates who are eligible to apply for resentencing under New York State's Drug Law Reform Act.
Association of Pro Bono Counsel (President, 2010 - 2012; Corporate Secretary, 2009 - 2010; Board Member, 2006 - present)
Immigration & Nationality Law Committee, New York City Bar Association, Member
National Pro Bono Summit, American Bar Association, Participant
Immigration Equality and Immigration Equality Action Fund, Board of Directors, Member
Federal Bar Council Public Service Committee, Member
Served as motions law clerk for the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit from 1992 to 1993.
Bar Admissions/Licensed Jurisdictions
New York; New Jersey; US Supreme Court; US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit; US District Court for the Southern District of New York; US District Court for the Eastern District of New York