Human Rights First Honors Two Law Firms with the Marvin E. Frankel Award

NEW YORK — Human Rights First today announced that two law firms will be honored with this year’s Marvin E. Frankel Award for Pro Bono Service: Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP. Human Rights First congratulates the law firms on this accomplishment and appreciates their continued commitment to life-saving pro bono work.

“The rights of refugees and those seeking asylum are elemental to who we are as a nation, and the pro bono attorneys we honor with the Marvin E. Frankel Award demonstrate a commitment to protecting and affirming those rights,” said Jenna Gilbert, Director of Refugee Representation at Human Rights First. “Through their pro bono work, our honorees from Cleary and Morgan Lewis have changed lives, built futures, and offered hope by providing asylum seekers with the legal protections they deserve.”

The Frankel Award is presented annually to law firms that demonstrate outstanding commitment to pro bono service, helping Human Rights First achieve justice for refugees in the United States. Human Rights First will officially present the awards during its annual celebration on October 17 in New York City.

“Cleary is honored to receive the Frankel Award for its work assisting asylum seekers and refugees in the United States,” said Ludivine Van der Heyden, Pro Bono Immigration Attorney at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP. “The firm has a longstanding commitment to providing life-saving pro bono legal representation to asylum seekers, and we are truly grateful for our partnership with Human Rights First and its attorneys’ exceptional support. We look forward to continuing to grow this partnership in support of individuals and communities most in need.”

“Morgan Lewis is proud to be in partnership with Human Rights First for more than a decade to draw attention to the needs of those fleeing conflicts and oppression and secure their safety through our legal system,” said Morgan Lewis Firm Chair Jami McKeon. “We are honored to receive the Frankel Award for the second time in less than five years and to continue this important work with Human Rights First. The need for these critical services continues to grow with more and more individuals and families seeking asylum beyond the borders of their homes.”

The award is named for Judge Marvin E. Frankel, co-founder and former chairman of Human Rights First. During his lifetime, Judge Frankel was a champion for the human rights movement and understood the critical impact pro bono representation can have on the lives of clients and lawyers. Under his guidance, Human Rights First developed a nationally recognized pro bono representation program that is now one of the largest of its kind in the country.

Each year, attorneys donate thousands of hours to help refugees seeking asylum. In 2022, volunteer attorneys provided $96.6 million in legal services—totaling over 125,000 hours––through Human Rights First’s representation program. With these pro bono attorneys, Human Rights First represents over 1,500 clients and their family members and continues to train and inspire new generations of human rights advocates.


Published on September 6, 2023


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