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Photo: Karen Grisez
Karen Grisez (center), with our Executive Director Nancy Lopez and our Board President Paul Lee

Board Member Karen Grisez Honored for Protecting Immigrants’ Rights

Karen Grisez, a longtime member of our board and the Public Service Counsel at Fried Frank, has won the 2016 American Immigration Lawyers Association Edith Lowenstein Memorial Award. The award honors Karen’s work protecting the rights of immigrants.

AILA established the Edith Lowenstein Memorial Award in memory of Edith Lowenstein, a former Justice Department attorney who specialized in immigration and naturalization law. Karen embodies Lowenstein’s work: She is known for skillfully litigating immigration cases and shaping immigration policy, her dedication to improving access to justice, and a prodigious work ethic.

Karen joined Fried Frank in 1990; as Public Service Counsel, she coordinates the firm’s pro bono work and directly represents clients as well. Among other things, she organizes panels on immigration law, including the immigration and human-rights panel at our annual 2016 Summer Pro Bono & Public Interest Forum; speaks at trainings, such as the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center’s Immigration Litigation Series on removal proceedings; and educates law students about immigration-related pro bono and public-interest opportunities.

More generally, Karen’s passion and dedication inspires others to commit to pro bono work. She shares her experience, wisdom, and practical tips with new lawyers—increasing the number of lawyers dedicated to representing clients who can’t afford lawyers. And she leads by example, too, working with groups such as ProBAR (the Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project) to expand representation of immigrants in need of counsel.

Despite her many achievements, Karen is kind and humble. She’s the person that everyone turns to for help with thorny questions of immigration law or pro bono practice, and she remains approachable and eager to provide thoughtful answers.

This award, in sum, confirms what we’ve long known about Karen: She motivates us to do better in our careers and daily lives. We can think of no greater champion of immigrants’ rights and no more deserving recipient of this award.

The American Bar Association will honor Karen at a reception on Friday, June 17th, and AILA will present her the award on June 25 at its annual conference.