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Home / Press Release / Human Rights First Honors Three Law Firms with the 2021 Marvin E. Frankel Award for Pro Bono Service
August 12, 2021

Human Rights First Honors Three Law Firms with the 2021 Marvin E. Frankel Award for Pro Bono Service

WASHINGTON – Human Rights First today announced the three law firms honored this year with the annual Marvin E. Frankel Award:  Crowell & Moring LLP, Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, and Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP.

The award is given to firms that exhibit outstanding dedication to pro bono service helping Human Rights First achieve justice for refugees across the country. Human Rights First will officially present the awards during its Virtual Celebration on Thursday, October 21, at 8 p.m. (EST).

“The firms we honor with this distinguished award make a profound difference in the lives of their asylum-seeking clients,” said Jenna Gilbert, Director of Refugee Representation, at Human Rights First. “These firms took on difficult asylum cases from across the globe and provided the representation that allowed asylum seekers safety and security in the United States that they were deprived of in their homelands.”

Each year Human Rights First honors the memory of Judge Marvin E. Frankel, one of the organization’s founders and former chairman of its board of directors, by recognizing its pro bono partners. Judge Frankel, who devoted his life to the cause of human rights, understood the critical difference that pro bono representation can make in the lives of lawyers and their clients. Under his leadership, Human Rights First developed a nationally recognized pro bono representation program that has become one of the largest of its kind in the country. Since it was created, attorneys in New York, Washington D.C., and Los Angeles have provided free legal representation to refugees from more than 100 countries.

Each year these attorneys donate thousands of hours to help refugees seeking asylum. In 2020, volunteer attorneys provided almost $50 million in legal services — totaling 75,000 hours––through Human Rights First’s representation program. Together with these pro bono attorneys, Human Rights First represents more than a thousand clients and continues to train and inspire a new generation of human rights advocates.

More about the 2021 Marvin E. Frankel award winners:

Los Angeles: Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP

Time and again Human Rights First’s attorneys in Los Angeles have called on Quinn Emanuel when we have a case that needs representation, whether it is a fast-moving case in detention or a particularly complex asylum matter with multiple family members. Representing clients from countries such as Russia, Guatemala, Eritrea, Nicaragua, Colombia, Uganda, and others, the lawyers at Quinn Emanuel provide the highest level of pro bono representation, with nearly 1,000 pro bono hours dedicated to work with Human Rights First in 2020 alone. 

Washington: Crowell & Moring LLP

Throughout a long collaboration between Human Rights First and Crowell & Moring LLP, the firm’s Washington, DC office has worked relentlessly on behalf of our clients.  In 2020, the firm contributed a remarkable 1,890 pro bono hours to work with Human Rights First, and clients experienced consistently excellent representation from the team at Crowell & Moring LLP.

New York: Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP

For more than twenty years, Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP has demonstrated their commitment to the rights of asylum seekers.  Attorneys in their New York office have worked on over 130 asylum cases, often continuing to help clients secure lawful permanent residence and U.S. citizenship.

In 2020, attorneys from the firm worked on cases from Bangladesh, Chad, El Salvador, Iran, Niger, Turkey, and many other countries.  The firm has also regularly hosted our New York-based asylum trainings, even helping us reach wider audiences through virtual trainings.