Spotlight On

Spotlight On

ABA Immigration Report

On Tuesday, February 2, 2010 Washington, DC litigation special counsel Karen Grisez, who is also Chair of the ABA Commission on Immigration, unveiled the detailed Executive Summary of a comprehensive report on the immigration adjudication removal system at a National Press Club briefing in Washington. This study culminates a major 18-month undertaking involving over 200 interviews with government, NGOs and private parties as well as legal research. It will be a centerpiece resource in considerations of Congress and in the executive agencies as government leaders turn to the issues of comprehensive immigration reform. Karen presented the report's findings with Carolyn Lamm, ABA president; Andrew Schoenholtz, Deputy Director for the Institute for the Study of International Migration at Georgetown University, and leaders of the team from Arnold & Porter LLP who prepared the report for the Commission. Click here for a link to the Executive Summary.

New York Law Journal Feature: Public Interest Projects

In its "Public Interest Projects" section, the October 19, 2007 New York Law Journal featured a special training program for pro bono attorneys in taking statements from Liberian refugees in New York who have survived 14 years of civil war in their home country.  These official statements will eventually be used as documentary evidence in future public hearings held by the government-mandated Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Liberia.  Fried Frank hosted this program with Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights, the Minneapolis non-profit coordinating an international outreach program to refugees, and law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld.  Special counsel Jennifer L. Colyer discusses the program in further detail.

View the NYLJ's "Public Interest Projects" article


Hudson Valley LGBTQ Community Center

Fried Frank joined Lambda Legal and Workers' Rights Law Center of New York in representing the Hudson Valley LGBTQ Community Center to appeal the City of Kingston, New York's denial of its application for a charitable exemption from real property taxes. The Hudson Valley LGBTQ Community Center, a non-profit organization run by volunteers, offers educational forums, support and counseling groups, and publications for the Hudson valley LGBTQ community, entitling it to a non-profit property tax exemption under New York Real Property Tax Law. In March 2007 Kingston's assessor denied its application, claiming the Center did not warrant exemption. An appeal to the Board of Assessment Review was denied, leaving the Center with a bruising, discriminatory tax bill. In February 2008 the Center successfully settled its lawsuit against the City of Kingston with an agreement and court order stating that the Center's activities do meet the legal requirement for a tax exemption.

Working on this matter are litigation partner Janice Mac Avoy, litigation special counsel Jennifer L. Colyer and former Fried Frank litigation associate Ron Lazebnik.



In the summer of 2007, four US summer associates traveled to Harlingen, Texas with Karen Grisez, Fried Frank's Public Service Counsel, to represent two immigration clients in their removal hearings. The team prevailed in both cases, securing asylum status for a refugee from Somalia, and voluntary departure for an undocumented immigrant from Mexico.  In both hearings, summer associates examined witnesses in court and made arguments to the immigration judge.


P.S. 146 Project

In May 2007, Fried Frank was chosen to be the first law firm to be paired with a New York City Public School, P.S. 146 in East Harlem under a new program organized by Volunteers for Legal Services.  P.S. 146 is an enormously successful "barrier free" school, meaning that it is open to all students regardless of special needs.  Fried Frank is helping the students' families with certain legal problems (namely issues relating to immigration, accessing public benefits, and guardianship) that impact the student's ability to attend school. 

We have four active cases for P.S. 146 families, addressing issues ranging from guardianship of a child whose mother is terminally ill, to addressing persistent elevator access issues in public housing, to adoption for a student whose custodial mother passed away.


New York Law Journal Feature

The February 23, 2007 New York Law Journal featured special counsel Jennifer L. Colyer in its "Spotlight on Pro Bono" section.  The piece focused on Colyer's work for a political asylee from Honduras who was improperly laid off from his position as a janitor.

View the NYLJ's "Spotlight on Pro Bono" article