Each year, Human Rights First honors the memory of Judge Marvin E. Frankel, a founding father of Human Rights First and former Chairman of our Board of Directors with an award in his name. Judge Frankel died in 2002. During his lifetime he dedicated time and energy to making a difference in the human rights movement.
Judge Frankel understood the critical difference that probono representation can make. He promoted this kind of public service at his law firm, Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP, and through his human rights work. Under his leadership Human Rights First developed a nationally recognized pro bono program through which lawyers in New York and Washington now represent more than 1,000 refugees from more than 80 countries in their asylum proceedings.
Each year attorneys donate over 60,000 hours of their time — a donation the equivalent of over $18 million in legal fees — to helping asylum clients. Pro bono attorneys also provide invaluable support to Human Rights First in other ways, including preparing amicus curiae briefs in cases involving important issues of international human rights law.
Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP, New York
Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP has provided top quality pro bono legal representation to asylum seekers through the asylum representation program at Human Rights First for many years. Attorneys at the firm have demonstrated the ability to handle a number of complex asylum cases that have taken several years to resolve as well as cases for refugees who face particular challenges, such as immigration detention. Given Marvin Frankel’s history at the firm, Human Rights First is particularly pleased to honor the firm with this award.