ABOUT SUSAN THORN

Susan has represented individuals with diverse educational, professional, cultural and criminal backgrounds in removal/deportation and bond proceedings and cases of adjustment of status ('Green Card') with inadmissibility waivers, consular processing with provisional waivers, asylum, and complicated naturalization with medical disability, English literacy and fee waivers, marriage fraud ('Stokes') interviews, and order of supervision appointments with ICE, among other matters.

Susan’s commitment to public service and interest in international refugee and asylum law led her to Brooklyn Law School (BLS), where she received clinical training in representing asylum seekers through BLS’s asylum law clinic, the Safe Harbor Project. During law school she also held legal internships with The International Rescue Committee’s Protection Unit and Catholic Charities’ Department of Refugee and Immigrant Services, and a judicial internship with the Hon. Frederic Block, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York, funded by a Revson Law Student Public Interest (LSPIN) Fellowship.

After graduating from law school, Susan moved to London, United Kingdom. In London, Susan was the Projects Manager for the An Viet Foundation, a refugee community organization providing direct social services to resettled Vietnamese refugees, and volunteered as a Caseworker for the award-winning human rights organization, Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID), helping detained asylum seekers prepare pro se bail applications.

Susan returned to the U.S. to practice immigration law. She first worked for the New York deportation defense firm of Bretz & Coven LLP in 2007, where as an Associate, she gained extensive experience defending and representing detained and nondetained clients with criminal records in Immigration Court and before the Board of Immigration Appeals and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Susan left private practice to return to public interest law as a Staff Attorney with Staten Island Legal Services – Legal Services NYC (SILS) representing low-income immigrants, including survivors of domestic violence, on applications for naturalization, adjustment of status, immigrant relative visas, U visas and relief under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

 

She continued her service to indigent immigrants as a Supervising Staff Attorney with CUNY Citizenship Now!. At CUNY, Susan provided legal assistance to thousands of immigrants through the organization’s immigration centers, mass application assistance events, and outreach at New York City Council Members’ offices. Because of her fondness for teaching English as a Second Language, Susan also taught free U.S. Civics classes at night to immigrants preparing for their naturalization interview. Concurrently, Susan was a Legal Consultant to the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), providing technical and legal supervision to and conducting immigration law webinar trainings for staff of affiliated refugee resettlement offices located across the U.S.

 

Susan returned to private practice in 2015 as an Associate with a large full-service immigration law firm in New York. Desiring to help indigent immigrants during the first tumultuous year of the new administration, Susan returned to  public interest law as a Senior Staff Attorney with Lutheran Social Services of New York's Immigration Legal Program. She is now a solo practitioner.
 

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Susan’s commitment to serving immigrants is grounded in her personal background. Born abroad to an American father and a Vietnamese mother at the height of the Vietnam War, Susan was raised in Singapore and Hawaii. After graduating college, Susan’s interest in migration issues, the Vietnamese diaspora, and international development initiatives led her to work for a New York grantmaking foundation in community revitalization and the environment. She then volunteered to teach English for a year in Hanoi, Vietnam, on a capacity-building project with the Vietnamese government funded by the Ford Foundation and administered through WorldTeach, a nonprofit organization based at Harvard’s Institute for International Development.

It was a transformative year for Susan, who met her mother’s family for the first time in southern Vietnam, confirming her resolve to become a lawyer to assist refugees and immigrants in rebuilding their lives abroad.

BAR | COURT ADMISSIONS
New York, 2006
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, 2015

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, 2018

MEMBERSHIPS
American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA),

2008 - Present

New York City Bar Association,

2009 - Present

Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY),

2018 - Present

LANGUAGES
English (native)
Vietnamese (proficient)
Italian (proficient)

EDUCATION
Brooklyn Law School, J.D., 2002
Sarah Lawrence College, B.A. in the Humanities
Sarah Lawrence College in Florence, Italy

A lawyer passionate about justice, due process and dignity for immigrants.