Lori Adams is the Director of the Immigration Intervention Project at Sanctuary for Families. She represents asylum seekers before the immigration courts and in the asylum offices, leads the organizations advocacy efforts on behalf of immigrant survivors of gender-based harm, mentors pro bono counsel, and oversees a team of immigration attorneys and advocates who assist foreign-born survivors of gender violence. The team and the pro bono counsel she supports provide the full spectrum of immigration applications and defenses for which clients and their families are eligible, including asylum applications, U-Visas, T-Visas, humanitarian waiver applications, Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) self-petitions, applications for Special Immigration Juvenile Status, DACA, cancellation of removal, and naturalization.
Before joining Sanctuary for Families, she was the Managing Attorney in Refugee Representation at Human Rights First, where she oversaw the pro bono legal representation of indigent asylum seekers. In that capacity, she provided support to volunteer lawyers from law firms in New York and New Jersey who represent asylum seekers at all levels of the system. She also provided information and legal services to asylum seekers in immigration detention, and helped to coordinate their legal representation. Human Rights First opened an office in Houston, Texas in the spring of 2014 and she oversaw the pro bono legal representation of indigent asylum seekers in that area too.
Ms. Adams is a member of Study Group on Immigrant Representation, launched by Judge Robert A. Katzmann of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which aims to increase high-quality pro bono representation of asylum seekers and otherwise address the unmet legal needs of the immigrant poor. She is also a member of the Working Group on Immigrant Representation, led by Judge Michael A. Chagares of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, which has similar aims in New Jersey. Ms. Adams is a frequent speaker on immigration-related topics and a co-author of a report on the negative impact of the one-year filing deadline in asylum cases.
Before joining Human Rights First, Ms. Adams was the attorney advisor in the New York Immigration Court, where she drafted decisions for twenty-eight immigration judges and supervised the work of the court’s law clerks and interns. She also worked for the American Civil Liberties Union and for the Honorable Deborah A. Batts in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Ms. Adams has a philosophy degree from the University of Oregon and a law degree from New York Law School. She is on the Advisory Council of the Immigration Law Section of the Federal Bar Association, is a member of the I-ARC (Immigrant Active Response Collaborative) steering committee, a member of the Asylum Working Group, and member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. She is admitted to practice law in New York and New Jersey.