Manatt's Pro Bono Work With Human Rights First Secures Asylum For Political Refugee
NEW YORK, August 19, 2005 – Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, the national law and consulting firm, in collaboration with Human Rights First, proudly announces that its pro bono work has secured asylum for political refugee Ahmed Fadiga. Mr. Fadiga fled from torture and terror in the Ivory Coast stemming from his membership in the leading opposition political party. Upon arrival in the United States, he found himself detained for seven months in prison-like conditions, while he awaited immigration procedures.
After learning of Mr. Fadiga’s plight through the Asylum Project at Human Rights First, Manatt associate Shawn Friedman gathered evidence and presented a case that “completely persuaded” U.S. Immigration Judge Margaret Riechenburg of Mr. Fadiga’s eligibility for asylum.
“Shawn did tremendous work with this case, using his considerable litigation skills in numerous court appearances to secure Mr. Fadiga’s freedom,” said Paul H. Irving, Manatt's Chief Executive and Managing Partner. “This is another example of Manatt’s extraordinary commitment to making a difference through pro bono, civic and charitable service.”
Manatt attorneys have served as outside counsel to Human Rights First for more than a decade. In the last two years, attorneys in the Firm’s New York Office also have secured grants of asylum for refugees from Tibet and Togo. In addition, Mr. Irving and Los Angeles-based partner Steven A. Nissen are members of the Human Rights First National Council.
“We are so proud of Shawn for his work with Human Rights First,” commented William S. Bernstein, Administrative Partner of Manatt’s New York office. “Considering that only approximately 25% of asylum seekers represented by legal counsel receive grants of asylum, we are delighted to have helped Ahmed Fadiga gain his freedom.”
Mr. Friedman’s pro bono work is part of Manatt’s larger Public Interest Initiative. Launched early this year, the Initiative helps connect Manatt attorneys and staff to pro bono and civic service opportunities in the communities where they live and work.
About Human Rights First
Human Rights First works in the United States and abroad to create a secure and humane world by advancing justice, human dignity and respect for the rule of law. The organization supports human rights activists who fight for basic freedoms and peaceful change at the local level; protects refugees in flight from persecution and repression; helps build a strong international system of justice and accountability; and works to ensure the enforcement of human rights laws and principles in the United States and abroad.
Currently celebrating its 40th anniversary, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP provides legal and consulting services to domestic and international clients from offices in Los Angeles, Orange County, Palo Alto and Sacramento, Calif.; New York and Albany, N.Y, and Washington D.C.. Its wholly owned subsidiary, Manatt Jones Global Strategies, LLC, develops and implements strategies to expand clients’ businesses and facilitate their effective competition in global markets. For more information, visit www.manatt.com and www.manattjones.com.