Awards and Advocacy

Anthony Ellis Hahn and Hessen LLP.jpg

Human Rights First is grateful for the work of our pro bono attorneys—individuals who devote their time, resources, compassion, and strength to the representation of asylum-seekers.  The commitment of leading law firms to the pro bono representation of asylum-seekers has saved the lives of thousands of people who came to the United States for protection.

Activists fighting for freedom around the globe continue to look to the United States for inspiration and count on us for support.  This country is strongest when our policies and actions match our values.  With the pro bono representation of asylum-seekers, leading law firms in the United States demonstrate the importance of protecting the human rights of those who come here for protection.

The pro bono legal representation made possible by the partnership between Human Rights First and law firms also informs our advocacy on refugee protection issues, and vice versa.

Over the years, we have acknowledged the work of our pro bono attorneys with various awards.

Frankel Award

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. More here.

Pro Bono Star Award

Human Rights First gives our Pro Bono Star award to attorneys who demonstrate extraordinary commitment to the cases for asylum or related forms of immigration protection that they take on a pro bono basis through our program.  While we are grateful to all our pro bono attorney volunteers, these individuals have given extra time and care to their clients’ cases and we are grateful for the opportunity to acknowledge their hard work.


Kerrin Klein (New York)
Kelly Spatola (New York)
Kierstan Carlson (Washington, D.C.)
Victoria Ortega (Washington, D.C.)
Nicholaus Floyd (Houston)
Clay Rogers (Houston)
Cathy Scheineson, McDermott Will & Emery (Washington, D.C.)
Tom Blinka, Cooley LLP (Washington, D.C.)
Abby Pierce, Cooley LLP (Washington, D.C.)
Jane Van Benten, Cooley LLP (Washington, D.C.)
Marcelo Pomeranz, Cooley LLP (Washington, D.C.)
Sean Kulkarni, Mayer Brown LLP (Washington, D.C.)
Alan Grimaldi, Mayer Brown LLP (Washington, D.C.)
Christine Taverner, Mayer Brown LLP (Washington, D.C.)
Jason Beesinger, Joyce + McFarland LLP (Houston)
Daniel Mayerfield, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP (Houston)
Sarah Grossnickle, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP (Houston)
Richard Roth (Houston)
Jack McBride, Greenberg Traurig, LLP (Los Angeles)
Katie Saucier, Greenberg Traurig, LLP (Los Angeles)
Kevin Cole, Greenberg Traurig, LLP (Los Angeles)
Maja Zerjal, Proskauer Rose LLP (New York)
Maureen Crough, Sidley Austin LLP (New York)
Cory Struble, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP (New York)

Dean Razavi, Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP (New York)
Molly Kammien, Seward & Kissel LLP (New York)
Noah Czarny, Seward & Kissel LLP (New York)
Jack Yoskowitz, Seward & Kissel LLP (New York)
Angela Urbano, Seward & Kissel LLP (New York)

Lee Berger, Paul Hastings LLP (Washington, D.C.)
Francesca Erts, Paul Hastings LLP (Washington, D.C.)
Casey Miller, Paul Hastings LLP (Washington, D.C.)
Elizabeth Leavy, Reed Smith (Washington, D.C.)
Molly Campbell, Reed Smith (Washington, D.C.)

Alicia Handy, Latham & Watkins LLP (Houston)
Audrey Hendricks, Exxon Mobil (Houston)
Christopher Boling, Vinson & Elkins LLP (Houston)
Ying Wang, Vinson & Elkins LLP (Houston)

Jeffrey Payne, Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP (Los Angeles)
Joseph Lee, Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP (Los Angeles)
Kelly Henderson, Southern California Edison (Los Angeles)
Jered Lindsay, Southern California Edison (Los Angeles)
Emily Murray, Allen Matkins (Los Angeles)
Andrea Reynoso, Allen Matkins (Los Angeles)
Peter Griffin, Allen Matkins (Los Angeles)
George Lopez, Paralegal, Allen Matkins (Los Angeles)


Brooke Pietrzak, Mastercard (New York)
Jessica Mikhailevich Pierce, Dorsey (New York)

Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP (Los Angeles)


J. Clare Rose (New York)
Adam Hunt (New York)


Narges Kakalia (New York)
Susanne Peticolas (New York)
Jonathan Klein (New York)


Scott Harlan (Washington, DC)

Pantea Stevenson (New York)

Community Awards

Martha Arreola
Asylee Women Enterprises
The Direct Support for Immigrants Working Group of the Takoma Park Mobilization (Washington, D.C.)
Andrea Cook, Kensington Ward, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Washington, D.C.)

Washington Hebrew Congregation (Washington, D.C.)
Sister Rosemary Mangan, Religious of Jesus and Mary (Washington, D.C.)

Published on June 1, 2012


Seeking asylum?

If you do not already have legal representation, cannot afford an attorney, and need help with a claim for asylum or other protection-based form of immigration status, we can help.