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.
Kaye Scholer LLP
This award recognizes Kaye Scholer’s active role in representing refugees and their families in the New York and New Jersey area since 2003 through Human Rights First’s asylum representation program. The firm does not hesitate to take on complex asylum cases or those with imminent deadlines and has provided its clients with excellent representation. Kaye Scholer attorneys have helped secure protection for refugees who have fled persecution in countries including Burma, Burundi, Chad, China, Georgia, Guinea, Uzbekistan, and Zimbabwe, and have put these men, women, and children on the path to a new life in the United States.
McDermott Will & Emery
McDermott Will & Emery has represented asylum seekers through Human Rights First in both the Washington, D.C. and New York areas and has provided steady support for pro bono asylum representation through our Washington, D.C. office. Attorneys at the firm have done consistently high-quality work on asylum cases, many of them complicated and involving clients with additional needs. In addition to casework, McDermott lawyers have assisted Human Rights First in its advocacy work. The firm also contributes to the growth of our pro bono program by regularly hosting asylum law trainings in their Washington, D.C. office.