Wesley Gryk, senior partner and founder of the firm, is a dual British-American national and has practised law in both countries. He obtained his BA (magna cum laude) from Harvard College and his JD (cum laude) from Harvard Law School. He also attended the University of Warsaw for one year on a Fulbright Fellowship. He began his legal career as judicial clerk to the late Honorable Constance Baker Motley, US District Judge in the Southern District of New York (Manhattan), who was the first black woman appointed to the US Federal Judiciary. He went on to work for four years at Shearman and Sterling, a large New York corporate law firm, first in New York City and then in Hong Kong.
He moved to the United Kingdom in 1980 to take up the post of Deputy Representative and Legal Adviser to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and went on to work in London for the International Secretariat of Amnesty International for five years, first as its Deputy Legal Adviser and then as the Deputy Head of the organisation’s research department. After retraining to become a solicitor in this country, he worked for a number of years with the highly respected civil liberties lawyer Ben Birnberg of B.M. Birnberg and Co, before setting up Wesley Gryk Solicitors in 1995. Wesley served two terms as a member of the Law Society Council, the governing body for solicitors in England and Wales, with responsibility for immigration matters. He also previously was a board member of the Refugee Legal Centre, the Redress Trust and the Legal Aid Practitioners Group. He has travelled extensively on international human rights missions having, for example, attended the trial of Saddam Hussein in Iraq and of Abdullah Ocalan in Turkey on behalf of Amnesty International and the trial of former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim in Malaysia on behalf of Human Rights Watch. He was a founder of the the UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group in 1993 and was involved in much of the litigation, campaigning and lobbying which resulted in the recognition of lesbian and gay couples for immigration purposes in 1997 – the very first legal recognition of lesbian and gay couples in British law. He shared the Stonewall Equality Award in 1997 for this work and he continues to undertake voluntary work on these issues.
His practice covers the full range of immigration issues and, in particular, his strength in gay rights cases is well acknowledged. He has represented the UNHCR in two important House of Lords cases relating to immigration law – Shah and Islam, about the persecution of women in Pakistan, and Sepet and Bulbul, relating to conscientious objection in Turkey. He has acted for a number of international non-governmental organisations challenging in the European Court of Human Rights the treatment of LGBTI asylum seekers in various European states.