Human Rights First Recognizes Ropes & Gray’s Commitment to Pro Bono Service with Marvin E. Frankel Award

Ropes & Gray is pleased to announce that it has received the prestigious Marvin E. Frankel Award from Human Rights First (HRF), one of the nation’s leading nonprofit, nonpartisan human rights organizations. The firm was recognized for its long-standing pro bono support of HRF on numerous asylum and immigration cases dating back to the early 1990s.

Bill Sussman, partner and co-chair of Ropes & Gray’s pro bono committee said, “It’s an honor to receive this distinguished award. Over the last five years, members of the firm have contributed over 13,000 pro bono hours to HRF clients and worked on nearly 30 asylum referrals to help clients find a safe haven in the U.S. We recognize the life-changing impact this work can have and we look forward to continuing our partnership with HRF for years to come.”

Clients the firm has represented through HRF have included victims of political persecution from Ethiopia, Yemen and Togo; clients from El Salvador and Uzbekistan who were attacked for their sexuality; a victim of female genital mutilation from Guinea who fled an arranged marriage; a client from the Ivory Coast threatened for his ethnicity; and a journalist from Iraq targeted for her affiliation with western media organizations.

Elisa Massimino, president and CEO of Human Rights First, offered remarks at the ceremony and presented the award:

“We are pleased to honor Ropes & Gray LLP with our Marvin E. Frankel Award, in recognition of the transformative and often life-saving work that its dedicated lawyers do in partnership with Human Rights First, providing high-quality legal representation for indigent refugees seeking asylum. Together with firms like yours, we are setting the gold standard for this work, extending a legal lifeline for those forced to flee persecution in their homelands. Your work could not be more important. Time and again, the efforts of Ropes & Gray attorneys have meant the difference between safe haven and a one-way ticket back to persecution for refugees in need.”

As a national authority on human rights law and policy, Ms. Massimino has testified before Congress dozens of times and writes frequently for mainstream publications and specialized journals. In May 2008, she was named one of the top 20 public advocates in the country by The Hill.

Ropes & Gray’s support of HRF would not have been made possible without the efforts from the following partners who supervised HRF cases throughout 2011-2012: Doug Hallward-Driemeier, Chris Conniff, and Colleen Conry. Associates involved in HRF cases included: Keith Greenberg, Jesse Greene, Natalie Kim, Andrew RadschKelly O’Connell, and Chris England.

Ropes & Gray will also be recognized for this award at the 2012 Human Rights Award Dinner on Oct. 24 in New York City.

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