Sussan Lee
Year
2019
Chapter
Position
Center for Appellate Litigation, Appellate Counsel

Geehyun Sussan Lee is an advocate and attorney dedicated to elevating the voices of those excluded from traditional power structures.  Sussan’s wise mother gave her the same advice on every first day of school since kindergarten—“A truly strong person is not strong against the weak, she is strong against the strong.”  That advice has been Sussan’s lodestar throughout her childhood and now her career.

Sussan’s first experience with the criminal justice system was as a paralegal at the New York County District Attorney’s Office and an intern at the Department of Justice, where she worked on the investigation and prosecution of large-scale white-collar crimes, such as financial fraud and corrupt business practices.  Working in the prosecution of white-collar crime allowed Sussan to see how the criminal justice system treats privileged and underprivileged defendants in vastly different ways that further marginalize already marginalized communities.

After law school, Sussan returned to the criminal justice system, this time as a defense attorney, to reform a system that makes the vulnerable more vulnerable.  As a first generation immigrant, she has focused her career on protecting her community from being doubly punished by our broken criminal justice and immigration systems.  Sussan is currently an appellate counsel at the Center for Appellate Litigations Immigrant Justice Project, where she helps immigrant New Yorkers assert their due process rights and defend against the threat of immigration detention and deportation.  Her clients are long-term residents of New York City with extensive family and community roots who face deportation due to often minor criminal convictions from decades ago. Prior to the Center for Appellate Litigation, Sussan worked as an immigration attorney at the MinKwon Center for Community Action as a Justice Fellow with the Immigrant Justice Corps, the country’s first fellowship program dedicated to meeting the need for quality legal services for immigrants.

Sussan is proudly the secretary of the board of directors of United We Dream, the largest immigrant-youth-led advocacy network in the country as well as a sub-committee chair of the Immigration & Nationality Law Committee of the New York City Bar Association.  She holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School, a M.Sc. in Migration Studies from Oxford University, and a B.A., magna cum laude, in Social Studies from Harvard College.