Partner Profile: Staff Attorney Joshua Rigney

Each week, we highlight interesting facts and insights from you and others whose work each day make our justice system more accessible and equitable for all. This week’s partner profile features Joshua Rigney, Staff Attorney, DCBF Grantee, Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition – Pro Bono Asylum Program (PBAP).

Josh Rigney, Staff Attorney, TASSC

Name

Josh Rigney

Job/Position

Staff Attorney

Years on the job

Half a year

Organization

Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition – Pro Bono Asylum Program (PBAP)

Where did you grow up?

Northwest suburbs of Chicago, Illinois

What brought you to DC?

Law school

What was your first job in DC and what did you learn?

I worked as a Dean’s Fellow for the International Human Rights Law Clinic at American University’s Washington College of Law. I learned about preparing applications for asylum and other immigration benefits.

Fun Facts

Favorite restaurant  

Meiwah near the intersection of M Street and New Hampshire in NW DC.

Favorite vacation spot

Tie between Paris, France and Phuket, Thailand

Guilty pleasure

Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake from Barnes & Noble

One item from your bucket list

Hike to Mount Everest Base Camp in Nepal

Hobbies

Playing soccer, running, and reading

Career

Most rewarding element of your work –

The look of joy/relief on a client’s face when they are granted asylum.

If I hadn’t become a lawyer, I would be an… 

Intelligence analyst for the government or a professor.

Legal Aid and DCBF Funding

 Legal aid is important to me because…

This country runs on laws that are supposed to treat each and every person equally. A growing number of people, however, find that the costs and complexity of the legal system ensures that the treatment they receive is far from equal. Legal aid, when put to effective use, should help to address this issue.

 Your dream for our legal system is…

That we put the necessary money into our immigration legal system so men and women that have come to the US without their families as they seek asylum no longer have to wait several years before seeing their families again.

Organization mission:

TASSC seeks to eradicate the use of torture and help survivors of torture recover from the trauma they have experienced.

Little known fact about your organization.

TASSC is an organization built and run by torture survivors. Its founder, executive director, some of its staff, and half of its board of directors are torture survivors.

Recent victory made possible through DCBF funding.

Two participants in our recent legal orientation realized that they were being taken advantage of by case writers (basically fake attorneys, similar to notarios) and decided to find real attorenys to work on their cases.

What has DCBF funding meant to your organization?

Since receiving funding through DCBF, the number of asylum cases for DC residents that PBAP can work on has quadrupled. Furthermore, PBAP has been able to reach out to many more of our residents through legal orientations that explain asylum law and the asylum process, and provide advice for finding good legal representation.

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