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Jayne E. Fleming

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, which is comprised of more than 100 lawyers firmwide.

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:

Asylum Practice

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.

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 has personally traveled to Haiti 26 times since the earthquake, where she has investigated 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.

Moreover, Jayne Fleming and Reed Smith’s Haiti team have created a “global refugee clinic model” that can be replicated in any conflict zone in the world where the scourge of violence against women and children exists, or where refugees and displaced persons lack access to justice. To realize this cutting-edge project, Reed Smith formed partnerships with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Stanford University’s School of Medicine, the University of Pennsylvania Law School, the J/P Haitian Relief Organization (J/P HRO), the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), and numerous Haitian NGOs, all working from the bottom up for social justice.

Overall, the project consisted of more than a hundred team members, who each held a critical role. Doctors at Stanford provided forensic medical evidence in cases; doctors at J/P HRO provided in-country medical assessments; UNHCR provided expertise on cases; Penn Law provided research support; Haitian NGOs identified potential cases, screened clients, educated the team about the realities on the ground, and built up their cultural competence in Haiti; while Reed Smith attorneys, working pro bono, formed the core.

In total, the Reed Smith Haiti team and its partners evacuated 60 women and child victims of violence to safety. Nine Reed Smith clients have been granted permanent asylum in the United States, including a mother and her children, who have safely settled in California. A further 40 have been granted protection in Canada. These women and children will never have to return to the camps where they were assaulted. Most in the United States already have received grants of permanent asylum through the work of our team, while those resettled in Canada are guaranteed permanent status there. To date, none of the humanitarian parole or asylum applications filed by the Reed Smith lawyers has been rejected.

Additionally, Jayne has spearheaded several other projects at Reed Smith regarding Haiti, such as:

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 worked with the Thomson Reuters Foundation and MADRE to make recommendations on draft rape laws 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.”

Furthermore, in 2010, Jayne independently established The Patricia Fleming Fund in memory of her mother. This non-profit raises money to help clients relocate from tent camps to safe houses, provides education grants for children impacted by violence, and pay for emergency medical care, food and clean water for all of her client families. All funds donated to her Patricia Fleming Fund are used to protect and support Haitian women and children living on less than $1 a day. To date, it has raised more than $350,000.

Employment History

  • 2003 – Reed Smith
    • Human Rights Team Leader
    • Member of Reed Smith's Associates Committee
  • 2000 - Crosby Heafey Roach & May
    • (combined with Reed Smith in 2003)

Honors & Awards

  • National Law Journal Pro Bono Hot List (2015)
  • Financial Times Most Innovative Law Firm in North America ‘Social Responsibility - Projects’ (2014)
  • Reed Smith Sean Halpin Award (2013)
  • The Recorder Pro Bono Achievers (2012)
  • UC Berkeley School of Law 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, Committee 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

  • The National Law Journal honored Jayne and the firm in its annual Pro Bono Hot List, for which the project was profiled in “Mobile Clinic in Haiti Delivers Hope,” 5 January 2015
  • “Financial Times Awards Reed Smith Top Honor for Social Responsibility Project”—FT awarded Reed Smith its top honor in North America for “Innovation in a Social Responsibility Project” for its work in Haiti. The firm received the highest score of all firms that were shortlisted for the honor, and is one of only four that received the “Standout” distinction in the category, News Releases, 4 December, 2014.
  • “Relocation for Haitian Rape Survivors; Haitian rape survivors begin new lives in Canada and the US, Resettlement programs offer an escape from violence and time to heal,” a syndicated article profiling one of Jayne’s clients, 1 July, 2014.
  • “What Lawyers and Law Firms Can Do,” an editorial Jayne wrote on the Reed Smith Haiti project for the Connecticut Law Tribune, 22 January, 2014.
  • “Reed Smith, Robert Rubin take on 'Justice for Johny',” Daily Journal, 9 April, 2013.
  • “Assault victim in UN case hires international legal team,” Associated Press, 4 April, 2013.
  • “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