Deborah Anker LL.M. ’84 , founder and director of the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic (HIRC) received the Federal Bar Association’s NGO Lawyer of the Year Award on May 18. She was honored alongside Karen Musalo, director of the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies at Hastings College of the Law.
Anker, one of the most widely known asylum scholars and practitioners in the United States, has received numerous awards, including the Founder’s Award from the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) in 1994 (which was also awarded to Nancy Kelly, co-managing director of HIRC at Greater Boston Legal Services) and AILA’s Arthur C. Helton Memorial Human Rights Award in 2015. She was designated a Woman of Justice by the Massachusetts Bar Association in 2009, and in 2011 she was elected as a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation.
Harvard Law School Clinical Professor Daniel Nagin, vice dean for Experiential and Clinical Education said: “Debbie is an inspiration to all. As one of her colleagues, I continue to marvel every day at her creativity, brilliance, and tireless commitment.”
Anker is the author of a leading treatise, “Law of Asylum in the United States,” and she has co-drafted groundbreaking gender asylum guidelines and amicus curiae briefs. Her work has been cited by the U.S. Supreme Court and by various international tribunals. She is senior researcher for the Refugee Law Initiative, based in London.
Nancy Kelly and John Willshire Carrera, co-managing directors of the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic at Greater Boston Legal Services, said: “Deb remains relentless in her advocacy on behalf of women and all asylum seekers, and moving the law forward through her scholarship, her teaching, and her representation of individual clients, never forgetting that each ease involves a real person’s life.”