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Jayne E. Fleming

Pro Bono Counsel


  • University of California, Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law, 2000, J.D., Finalist in the McBaine Moot Court Honors Competition; Student-Director of the Boalt Hall Appellate Advocacy Program; Student Advisor of the Appellate Advocacy Program; Member of the Health Care Law Society
  • University of California, Berkeley, B.A., highest honors, Political Science

Professional Admissions / Qualifications

  • California

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals - Second Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals - Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals - Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals - District of Columbia Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals - Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals - Third Circuit
  • U.S. District Court - Northern District of California
  • U.S. Court of Appeals - Tenth Circuit

Jayne E. Fleming is Pro Bono Counsel to Reed Smith where she leads the firm's Human Rights Team, comprised of more than 100 lawyers.

Asylum Practice

Jayne has represented torture survivors and asylum seekers from every continent and has extensive experience working with traumatized children who have suffered violence, displacement and family separation. She has handled and supervised dozens of asylum cases. Many of Jayne's cases have helped move the law forward in the area of gender-based violence. Some of her most significant cases include:

In Garcia-Martinez v. Ashcroft (2004), Jayne convinced the Ninth Circuit that the systematic rape of women during the Guatemalan civil war was not merely criminal conduct, but a weapon of war used for political purposes. Given the political context, women survivors were entitled to assert asylum claims. Human rights experts hailed the court’s decision as an important victory for all women.

In January 2006, Jayne represented an Albanian teen who was held hostage for a month, subjected to daily rapes, and “prepared” for sex trafficking. The court said the attempted trafficking was a “personal” matter rather than a sociopolitical issue. After launching a national advocacy campaign supported by several human rights organizations, Jayne successfully mediated the case in the Second Circuit.

In April 2006, Jayne represented a Congolese woman imprisoned for six weeks and subjected to daily rapes. The Fifth Circuit had rejected her appeal on the ground that her torture was not politically motivated. Jayne filed a motion to reopen based on new evidence, and she launched an advocacy campaign with the help of several human rights organizations. This campaign led to thousands of letters reaching the desk of then-U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft. Shortly thereafter, the government joined in Jayne’s motion, and the client ultimately received asylum.

In 2007, Jayne represented a Honduran woman, who was subjected to child abuse and gang violence. Well aware that winning the case would be an uphill battle, Jayne flew to Honduras to meet with experts, wrote multiple briefs and declarations, and devoted hundreds of hours to witness interviews. The client was ultimately granted asylum on humanitarian grounds.

In 2009, she won asylum for a 17-year old girl from Guatemala who was persecuted on account of her indigenous origin. She also achieved stipulated resolution in a case on behalf of a 16-year old client from Guatemala who was subjected to extreme family violence and sexual abuse. In these cases and others, Fleming was able to provide the U.S. courts with essential evidence by flying in experts from on-the-ground relief agencies in other countries, such as the Center for Women’s Rights, which works directly with the most at-risk women and children in Honduras.

In 2010, Jayne also won a significant asylum case in San Francisco Immigration Court on behalf of an 11-year-old girl, who had fled Honduras at the age of seven with her cousin, when their family had been targeted for death by gangs. These cases are traditionally hard to win, because of circuit court precedent that says that resistance to gang recruitment is not a basis for asylum.

In 2011, she won four more cases, gaining protection for a teenage boy from Honduras, who was subjected to extreme sexual exploitation; securing safety for an HIV-positive woman, who was subjected to extreme domestic violence and abuse; preventing the deportation of a woman from Liberia, who suffered domestic violence and abuse; and winning asylum for a gay man from Morocco, who feared prosecution for refusing to hide his sexual orientation.

In 2012, Jayne won asylum for a gay man from Guinea who was subjected to a public stoning after he rejected a forced marriage and came out about his homosexual status. She also won asylum for a domestic violence survivor from Honduras, and she achieved victories for two asylum seekers who suffered sexual violence in Haiti.

In 2013, Jayne maintained her winning streak by securing asylum victories for a man from Syria.

She and her team have also been on the cutting-edge of the numerous ICE detention issues making the headlines, representing the mother of an HIV-positive asylum seeker who died in ICE detention because he was wrongfully denied access to his medication and other adequate medical treatment.

Haiti Projects

Jayne has spearheaded multiple efforts to alleviate the poverty and suffering of indigent survivors of the devastating January 12, 2010 earthquake Haiti, which, to this day, has left hundreds of thousands of victims without shelter or adequate food or medical care. Fleming and her team have sent sub-teams on fact-finding missions into displacement camps, developed expert reports on Sexual Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) and the urgent need for medical care, taken survivors to medical clinics, brought infants and children in for pediatric care, found shelter for more than two dozen high-risk families, and lined up emergency care for elders in critical condition. Fleming has personally traveled to Haiti 22 times since the earthquake, and plans to lead further delegations there in the near future.

In 2011, Jayne led Reed Smith teams in filing four Humanitarian Parole (HP) applications (all successful) with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, thereby permitting the evacuation of four vulnerable women and seven children from Haiti to the U.S. All four cases involved sexual violence and torture. Partnering with key national and international organizations has proved essential to the success of Reed Smith’s applications.

In 2012-13, Jayne and her team partnered with UNHCR, The UN Refugee Agency, in successfully petitioning the Canadian government for the emergency relocation of 13 vulnerable women and 24 children from Haiti under the Canadian Resettlement Program (RST). Additionally, her team successfully petitioned the U.S. government to grant permanent asylum to two women and six children from Haiti. And her team won humanitarian parole for a 9 year old rape victim and orphan. Presently, Jayne's team has filed pending applications for another eight women and fourteen children from Haiti.

She is also representing one woman and three children, who are seeking remuneration from the UN via a MINUSTAH Disciplinary Action. Promoting awareness and activism on the crisis of SGBV, while protecting the privacy and safety of her clients has, at times, been a significant challenge. In late 2010, in response to a rise in unethical reporting of sexual violence against women and children, Jayne organized a Working Group on Media Protocols on Sexual Gender-Based Violence in Haiti in Support of UN Campaign to Eliminate Violence against Women.

Working with Haitian reporters, the Haitian Ministry of Women, the head of the French Press Agency in Haiti, and more than twenty NGOs focused on the protection of women and girls, Jayne and lawyers from Reed Smith’s U.S. and European offices drafted a report describing the key international and national guidelines relating to the topic and highlighted best codes of practice with reference to specific jurisdictions. This report was supplemented by the recommendations arising out of a roundtable discussion held by a panel of media experts in London.

In December 2011, Reed Smith lawyers went to Haiti to run a conference on the topic of SGBV, in partnership with SOS Journalists, a coalition of Haitian journalists. More than 50 people attended, and speakers included the new Minister for Women, a Haitian Judge and Prosecutor, as well as representatives from the World Bank, BAI, MADRE and Digital Democracy. Attendees agreed that there is a need for guidelines specific to SGBV. Lobbying is now also under way for the insertion of a section on ethical reporting specific to this in the new Code of Ethics for journalists in Haiti, which was released by UNESCO in the same week as the conference.

Recognizing that Haiti’s anti-rape laws were only recently enacted and are rarely enforced, Jayne, other Reed Smith lawyers, and attorneys from three other firms have also been working with the Thomson Reuters Foundation and MADRE to help strengthen existing rape laws and their implementation in Haiti, with the aim of providing better support to rape survivors and increasing the likelihood of prosecutions.

In January 2012, this coalition produced a detailed comprehensive report on the subject, published by TrustLaw, a Thomson Reuters Foundation service, entitled “Achieving Justice for Victims of Rape and Advancing Women’s Rights.”

In 2011, Reed Smith also launched a project with Lawyer’s Without Borders (LWOB) to create an illustrated graphic novel in Creole and English aimed at educating target audiences about SGBV in Haiti, including domestic violence and gang rapes in camps. This for-all-ages book will assist women and children in Haitian camps understand their rights in relation to sexual violence as well as providing them with practical and verified (by Reed Smith lawyers in trips to Haiti) information on sources of help. Reed Smith lawyers continue to work in Haiti with grass roots groups, MADRE and with UNHCR to ensure the comic will be as helpful as possible to victims.

Furthermore, in 2010, Jayne independently established the non-profit Patricia Fleming Foundation (named in honor of her Mother) to raise funds privately to help clients and their families survive. She has raised over $265,000 and all of the funds are used to provide safe shelter and medical care to at-risk women and children in Haiti.

Employment History

  • 2003 - Reed Smith
    • Member of Reed Smith's Associates Committee
    • Coaches summer associates in legal writing and conducts training seminars on legal research
  • 2000 - Crosby Heafey Roach & May (combined with Reed Smith in 2003)

Honors & Awards

  • Reed Smith named one the ten leading pro bono practices in Northern California (2012)
  • UC Berkeley School of Law Kathi Pugh Award for Excellence in Student Mentoring (2011)
  • National Law Journal Pro Bono Award (2011)
  • National Law Journal Pro Bono Award (2010)
  • Daniel Levy Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement in Immigration Law (2009)
  • ABA Section of Litigation, John Minor Wisdom Award for Pro Bono and Community Service (2008)
  • Included in the 2008 edition of Who's Who in America
  • Named as one of the 50 Most Influential Women in America by National Law Journal (2007)
  • Named California Lawyer Attorney of the Year by California Lawyer Magazine (2005)
  • Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Father Moriarity Award (2005)
  • Reed Smith Sean Halpin Award (2005)

Professional Affiliations

  • Center for Gender & Refugee Studies (Board and Executive Committee Member)
  • Ubuntu in Action (President of the Board of Directors)
  • Legal Justice Center (Founder)
  • Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area (Member)
  • American Bar Association, Commitee for Human Rights (Member)
  • San Francisco Bar Association: International Human Rights Section (Member)
  • Survivors International (Board Member 2009 - 2012)
  • First District Appellate Project (Board Member 2008 - 2012)


In addition to watching old movies with her kids, Fleming loves to write, cook, visit art museums and browse in antique stores.

Interviews & Commentary

  • “Pro Bono Achievers,” Reed Smith was chosen by Am Law affiliate The Recorder as one of the ten leading Northern California pro bono practices, and Fleming was interviewed for an accompanying online video segment about her work in Haiti, The Recorder, 14 September 2012
  • Haiti’s Other Epidemic – Violence Against Women and Girls, a documentary featuring Jayne Fleming by Dan Alder about “the epidemic of rape in post-quake Haiti and an American lawyer’s attempt to help women caught up in the violence,” September 2011
  • “Reed Smith Pro Bono Counsel Wins Berkeley Law’s Kathi Pugh Award for Excellence in Student Mentoring,” News Releases, 29 April 2011
  • Rape in the camps: Sexual Violence in Haiti after the Quake, a news piece from The Thomson Reuters Foundation for which Fleming was interviewed, January 2011
  • Crimes Against Women In Haiti Staggering, Panel Finds, a New York 1 TV report on the Thomson Reuters Foundation panel that Jayne Fleming helped organize in New York City on the state of Haiti, one year following the earthquake, January 2011
  • “Pro Bono Awards: When Disaster Struck, The Lawyers Rushed In,” National Law Journal, 3 January 2011
  • Haiti camps no safe havens for women, a report that Fleming contributed to from The Pulitzer Center on Haiti’s rape crisis, December 22, 2010
  • “Haitians Hope for Humanitarian Parole,” a video documentary featuring Fleming on the Reed Smith Humanitarian Parole Project, New American Media, 15 August 2010
  • “ABA Unanimously Passes Resolution from Reed Smith Human Rights Team Leader Jayne Fleming - Bar demands action over severe lack of food, shelter, medical care and security for Haiti's women and children,” News Releases, 10 August 2010
  • “Witnesses for Haiti,” The Huffington Post, 12 July 2010
  • “Reed Smith Pro Bono Counsel Leads Delegation of Human Rights Attorneys and Doctors Back to Haiti - Firm Launches Humanitarian Parole Resource Site: www.haitilegalmedical.com” News Releases, 25 May 2010
  • “Girls as young as two facing rape in tent cities as UN security patrols fail to protect women after Haiti earthquake,” Daily Mall, 17 March 2010
  • “Girl who fled Honduran gangs is granted asylum,” San Francisco Chronicle, 12 February 2010
  • National Law Journal’s 2010 Pro Bono Awards: “Asylum cases keep her on the cutting edge,” 4 January 2010
  • “Fighting for Freedom,” Women Legal, June 2009
  • “Reed Smith Human Rights Team Leader wins 2009 Daniel Levy Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement in Immigration Law,” News Releases, 7 May 2009
  • "Reed Smith Attorneys Take on Kids Asylum Cases,” Recorder, 21 April 2008
  • “ABA Honors Reed Smith Lawyer,” San Francisco Daily Journal, 21 April 2008
  • “Reed Smith Appoints Oakland Lawyer as National Pro Bono Counsel, East Bay Business Times, 25 January 2008
  • “Seven Years Later and Lawyer and Client Both Win: Attorney Develops Her Practice and Helps Political Protestor Get Political Asylum," San Francisco Daily Journal, 24 January 2008
  • “Rape Victim Gains Political Asylum: Congolese Women Had Earlier Been Denied by a U.S. Judge,” Los Angeles Times, 17 December 2008
  • Safe Haven, Reed Smith’s Jayne Fleming Wins Clients’ Freedom, East Bay Business Times, 1 September 2006
  • DRC Asylum Seeker Gets Second Chance, CBS Radio, 22 August 2006
  • Congolese Woman Gets New Chance at Asylum, NPR Radio, 21 August 2006
  • Contesting the Bar to Asylum: The Justice Department asks for Review of a Congolese Woman’s Case, Los Angeles Times, 21 August 2006
  • "U.S. Case Against Asylum-Seeker Meets Skeptical 9th Circuit Panel, San Francisco Daily Journal, 25 February 2006
  • "Immigration Court Review Ordered: Attorney General Questions Quality of Work, Lack of Respect," ABA Journal eReport, 3 February 2006
  • “The Asylum Wars [The Gender Gap]," The American Lawyer, February 2006
  • “Judge’s Rulings on Asylum Seekers Earns Rebukes,” San Francisco Daily Journal, 31 January 2006
  • “Immigration Judges Come Under Fire: Critics Say System Oversight is Weak," The National Law Journal, 30 January 2006
  • “Voices for Justice,” Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the SF Bay Area, Winter 2005-2006
  • “The Border Protection, Antiterrorism, And Illegal Immigration Control Act: Another Step Backwards For Human Rights,” The Recorder, 16 December 2005
  • “Asylum Logjam: Streamlined Immigration Cases Are Flooding Federal Appeals Courts," ABA Journal, October 2005
  • “U.S. Tightens Asylum Rules,” San Jose Mercury News, 22 September 2005
  • “Gang-rape victim granted asylum after long court battle, Appeals court says attack on woman in Guatemala was political persecution,” San Francisco Chronicle, 15 July 2005
  • “Spurred by 9th Circuit, Immigration Judge Reverses Self,” San Francisco Daily Journal, 6 July 2005
  • “Opening Old Wounds: A New US Law Could Send Immigrant Torture Victims Back to Their Tormentors,” East Bay Express, 15 June 2005
  • “California Lawyer Attorney of the Year (CLAY) Award - Pro Bono,” California Lawyer, March 2005
  • “Trouble Makers Gather for Lunch, Speeches, Awards,” Daily Journal Extra, 7 February 2005
  • Annual Report 2005, Center for Gender & Refugee Studies, Hastings College of the Law
  • “U.S. Court Rules Rape is Grounds for Asylum,” INCASA Impressions, October 2004
  • “Ninth Leans to Asylum for Rape Victim,” The Recorder, 15 April 2004