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(Hons) from Harvard College and his JD(Hons) 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 for 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 involved in much of the litigation, campaigning and lobbying which resulted in the implementation of the current unmarried partners and civil partnership rules 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.
Alison Hunter, who became a partner in the firm on 1 October 2006, was educated in Switzerland, Germany and the United Kingdom. She read law with French law at King's College, London and went on to do a Masters degree in Human Rights Law at University College, London. After her training at Freshfields, she joined Wesley Gryk Solicitors in 1997 as a solicitor. Her practice covers all aspects of immigration and nationality law, with particular emphasis on EU free movement law, asylum and human rights law. She maintains close links with German lawyers and academics working in the field of immigration. She was formerly a visiting lecturer for immigration law at Westminster University and a Management Committee Member of the Centre for Advice on Individual Rights in Europe and a board member of the Immigration Law Practitioners' Association.
Barry O'Leary, who became a partner in the firm on 1 October 2006, read law at Cambridge University and attended law school at the College of Law, London. He qualified as a solicitor in 1997 and joined Wesley Gryk Solicitors in January 2000. His practice deals with the full range of immigration and nationality issues, with a particular emphasis on applications based on same sex relationships and also on asylum and human rights claims on the basis of sexual orientation. In his spare time, he works as a volunteer lawyer providing legal advice on these issues. He was heavily involved in the consultation process leading up to the introduction of the Civil Partnership Act 2004 and has given a number of lectures on the immigration aspects of this Act. He is the author of the immigration chapter of the Law Society Publication "Civil Partnership – the Law in Practice".
Tim Barnden read English at Cambridge University and converted to Law studying at the College of Law in London. He qualified as a solicitor in 1998 and has specialized in immigration and asylum work since then. He undertakes advice and representation across the full range of immigration and asylum law. He has recently been elected Chair of the UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group (UKLGIG) and is involved closely with their asylum project. He was an Executive Committee member of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association (ILPA) for the years 2007-9. He also continues to undertake and is known for his training work.
Diana Baxter joined Wesley Gryk Solicitors as a paralegal in 2008 and qualified as a solicitor in 2012. Prior to joining Wesley Gryk, Diana obtained a 1st class honours in Chinese Studies from the University of Oxford, following which she worked in Beijing as a paralegal. Diana subsequently achieved a distinction MSc in Development Studies at the London School of Economics, and spent a period undertaking postgraduate studies in sociology of law and migration at the University of California.
Diana's practice covers a wide range of immigration and asylum law, with a particular interest in British nationality law. She is an active member of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association (ILPA) and has represented ILPA on visits to the Home Office as part of the Complex Casework Partner Forum, as well as co-teaching an ILPA course on the financial requirements under Appendix FM. Diana is also a volunteer adviser at the Project for the Registration of Children as British Citizens and, in 2014, she participated in an expert panel on international surrogacy at the Alternative Parenting Show, London.
Adam qualified as a solicitor in 2012. He read law at the London School of Economics, graduating in 2008. He has worked for the firm for over four years and, for most of that time, he has worked directly with Barry O'Leary. Adam is a volunteer for the UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group where he speaks at the partnership and asylum meetings. Adam was also a volunteer for the Terrence Higgins Trust for over twelve months where he worked as a Refugee Mentor offering advice and support to asylum seekers in the UK. Adam offers advice and representation across the full range of immigration and nationality matters.
Elizabeth is qualified as a solicitor as well as an Attorney-at-Law in the State of New York. She first practiced immigration law in the US in 1996, and in the UK in 2007. Elizabeth is a native of New York City, and has lived in Germany and Italy as well as the UK. She was educated at Harvard University, Boston University, and the London School of Economics. After graduating from law school, she clerked for Hon. Nancy Gertner on the Federal District Court for the District of Massachusetts, before joining the Immigration Group at Dechert Price and Rhoads in Philadelphia. Since moving to the UK, she has practiced immigration and asylum law at Elder Rahimi Solicitors and Refugee and Migrant Justice. In addition to preparing asylum and immigration applications, she has represented her clients as an advocate before both the First Tier and Upper Tribunal, Immigration and Asylum Chamber.
Irena qualified as a solicitor at Wesley Gryk Solicitors in late 2014. Irena is originally from Armenia and has also lived in Russia and Bulgaria. She has a basic understanding of the Armenian language and is fluent in Russian and Bulgarian. Irena read law at the London School of Economics, graduating in 2009. She joined Wesley Gryk Solicitors as a paralegal in the same year and has now worked for the firm for over five years. Alongside her work at the firm, Irena has also participated in an international research project on immigration and asylum law on behalf of the London School of Economics. Irena offers advice and representation across the full range of immigration, asylum and nationality matters, with a particular emphasis on family immigration matters.
Tom Hardwick is a trainee solicitor at Wesley Gryk Solicitors. Tom read International History and International Politics at the University of Sheffield. He was awarded a BA degree in 2008. He went on to obtain a Graduate Diploma in Law from The College of Law. He started working as a paralegal at Wesley Gryk Solicitors in August 2011. For most of his time at the firm he has worked directly with Wesley Gryk. Tom is currently studying the Legal Practice Course part-time while working at Wesley Gryk Solicitors. He expects to qualify as a solicitor in early 2015.
Emily Heinrich has been with the firm since 2009 and qualified as a Solicitor in early 2015. Emily studied on the International Baccalaureate programme in The Netherlands and went on to read Law at the University of Surrey where she was awarded her undergraduate degree in 2007. Emily continued her legal education at the University of Surrey, graduating with a Masters in International Law, for which she was awarded a Distinction. Her LLM dissertation, titled "Universalism and Cultural Relativism: In Search of Reconciliation", focused on the development of international human rights, a subject in which she retains an active interest. Emily completed her Legal Practice Course at the College of Law, Guildford.
Chambers Guide to the Legal Profession ranks Wesley Gryk Solicitors LLP equal first amongst personal immigration practices in London. Wesley Gryk, Alison Hunter, Barry O'Leary and Tim Barnden are all named as leading individual practioners.
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