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Jason Dzubow on Political Asylum

Victory Is Fleeting, But Losing Lasts Forever

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It feels good to win an asylum case, particularly a case where the client faces a real danger in the home country, or where winning seemed unlikely.* But one thing I've noticed about winning - that good feeling doesn't last long.

The typical scene at my office after an asylum win.

It's better for court cases, when you are actually present to hear the decision.* Since you're not in the office, the win can be savored for a while; at least until you return to work.* With most Asylum Office victories, you receive the result by mail, so you might have a good couple minutes when you call the client to congratulate her.* After that, it's back to the grind stone.

Losing, on the other hand, is a different story.* When you lose an asylum case, you need to explain to the client what went wrong.* If you've screwed up, you need to explain that too, and hopefully in a way that doesn't generate a bar complaint.* If it's the client's fault, you need to be diplomatic-why add insult to injury? And even if you have done everything right, it's hard not to feel guilty when a client loses his case.* Maybe you could have done more?* Of course, you can always do more, and since you lost the case, you clearly should have.

You also need to explain the appeals process, and how much you charge.* You have to discuss the chances for success on appeal.* For most clients, this is a conversation that you will have more than once.

And then, of course, you actually have to do the appeal.* These are a lot of work.* If the appeal is with the BIA, you won't receive a decision for a year or two.* During that time, the client will call repeatedly to ask why there is no decision.* If you lose an appeal with the BIA, you then have to explain the process in the federal circuit courts and start the whole process again.*

So what's the lesson here?* According to a recent survey of asylum advocates in the U.S. and the UK, we need to take time to celebrate our successes.* Many advocates report that there are moments of great joy in their work.* For these advocates, seeing individuals that they have supported win asylum is a strong source of motivation.* Even though we are busy, we should take time to savor our wins.* We help make people's lives better.* If we take some time to appreciate our successes, it will help us enjoy our work more, and that will make us better advocates for our clients.

Originally posted on the Asylumist:

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