Akin Gump, Chadbourne & Parke, and Jones Day to Receive Marvin Frankel Award for Outstanding Pro Bono Work
New York City – Human Right First today announced it will honor Akin Gump in Washington, D.C., Chadbourne & Parke in New York City, and Jones Day in Houston with the 2015 Marvin Frankel Award during the Human Rights First Award Dinner tomorrow evening in New York City. The award recognitions come days before National Pro Bono Week, a global celebration of professional services for the public good, which commences on October 25.
Each year, Human Rights First recognizes one law firm from each of the three cities where the organization works with the Marvin Frankel Award for outstanding commitment to representing refugees and impactful pro bono work. The award, established in 2002, was created in memory of Judge Marvin Frankel, a founding father of Human Rights First and former Chairman of the organization’s Board of Directors.
This year’s award winners, Akin Gump, Chadbourne & Parke, and Jones Day have shown exemplary support for the influx of refugees needing services arriving at the U.S. southern border.
Akin Gump has marshaled incredible resources to secure the release from detention of many traumatized women and children, all of whom have fled persecution and violence in their home countries. Encouraged by its success at the Karnes County Residential Center in Karnes City, Texas—one of three detention centers contracted by the federal government to hold immigrant families in the United States—the firm is doing even more. In addition to providing high-quality representation for individuals, the firm advocated successfully for improved access to counsel for detained immigrants, the key difference in gaining release from detention. The firm’s commitment to both short-term solutions and long-term change is exemplary and gives hope to those who need it most.
Chadbourne & Parke’s commitment to improving access to counsel for immigrant children has made a difference in the lives of thousands of families. The firm’s advocacy and representation highlights the significant impediments children face in our immigration system. By providing essential technical expertise, Chadbourne’s national advocacy work led to tangible results—increased trainings for immigration judges, improved understanding of what reasonably can be expected of children in court, and more child-appropriate docketing practices. Chadbourne’s direct representation of children facing deportation inspires others and upholds the highest traditions of the legal profession.
Jones Day is playing a pivotal leadership role in providing pro bono representation to detained immigrant children and families. In the aftermath of the 2014 surge across the southern border, the firm was among the first to respond to the mass detention of women and children at a temporary facility in Artesia, New Mexico. Jones Day not only sent teams of attorneys to this remote facility, but also advocated for changes to systems and infrastructure that facilitated access to counsel. They reached beyond their own lawyers, recruiting counsel nationwide and persuading law firms to prioritize the representation needs of detained families. Jones Day’s commitment to these families extends beyond the walls of detention facilities to post-release representation across the country. The firm’s leadership, coupled with its local and national advocacy, has had a multiplying effect, enabling other law firms to follow in their footsteps.
Working with Human Rights First’s refugee representation program, attorneys from firms across the nation donate almost 80,000 hours of their time annually — a donation the equivalent of over $40 million in legal fees — to help 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.
The firms will be honored at the 2015 Human Rights First Award Dinner on Wednesday, October 21 at Chelsea Piers in New York City