For upholding the highest principles of the legal profession and for outstanding dedication to the welfare of others, HLS Clinical Professor Deborah Anker LL.M. ’84 was recently elected to the Fellows of the American Bar Foundation. Anker, one of the nation’s top scholars in immigration law, is director of the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic and has taught immigration law and supervised clinical students for over 20 years.

“As one of the leading experts on refugee and asylum law, Debbie has had a tremendous impact on the lives of so many who have sought asylum,” said Dean Martha Minow. “She has taught generations of students to be effective and dedicated advocates for people who are often in the most difficult circumstances. We are thrilled to celebrate the recognition of her accomplishments.”

She is the author of ”The Law of Asylum in the United States,” a leading treatise that has been cited frequently by international and domestic courts and tribunals, including the U.S. Supreme Court. The clinic’s guidelines on gender-specific human rights violations as a basis for asylum, co-drafted by Anker, have been accepted by the U.S. government and international tribunals.

In 2008, Anker received the Elmer Fried Award for Excellence in Teaching from the American Immigration Lawyers Association. That year, she also received an award from the Central American Refugee Center in New York in recognition of her pioneering work in humanitarian protection for immigrants fleeing persecution. In 2009, Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, the Massachusetts Association of Women Lawyers, and the Women’s Bar Association named her a “Woman of Justice” for her immigration law work.

Established in 1955, the Fellows of the American Bar Foundation is an honorary organization of lawyers, judges, and legal scholars whose public and private careers demonstrate outstanding dedication to their communities and to the highest principles of the legal profession. Membership, which is through a peer election process, is limited to one third of one percent of lawyers licensed to practice in each jurisdiction.