Alumnus-Founded Firm Leads Challenge to the President’s Executive Order

The New York Times reported on January 29, 2017 that the number of lawyers from across the country that simultaneously engaged in fighting the Muslim immigration ban was unprecedented. In the days that followed, the national media described lawyers in heroic terms for the first time in years. According to news reports, one law firm in particular stood out for its contributions to fighting the order—Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Lowry, founded by Case Western Reserve University law alumnus Austin Fragomen ’68.

In the immediate aftermath of the executive order, Austin Fragomen’s firm took a leading role in combating the intended and unintended consequences of the order for members of the immigrant and business communities across the nation. They worked with clients to draft letters to their boards, prepared executives ahead of meetings with the President and sued the government on behalf of an Iraqi born CNN journalist who was a legal permanent U.S. citizen, but was illegally detained at the Atlanta airport. The firm also provided pro bono legal assistance at airports around the country along with volunteer lawyers from the International Refugee Assistance Project.

“The Executive Order was mishandled on multiple levels, leaving the travel ban particularly vulnerable to legal challenge and ultimately to a decision of the 4th Circuit which would curtail the ability of the President to ban aliens from the United States even for facially legitimate reasons,” said Fragomen. “We were pleased to assist our corporate and private clients whose rights were violated by this poorly devised Executive Order.”

Fragomen graduated from Case Western Reserve University School of Law in 1968. As a student, he founded the Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law, which celebrates its 50th year of publication this year. He has served as staff counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship and International Law and is founding co-author of a renowned series of immigration handbooks published by Thompson Reuters/West.

Other CWRU Law alumni who hold senior positions in Fragomen Del Ray include Tim Nelson (’05), who recently was promoted to partner; Elizabeth Reichard ('04), who serves on the firm’s U.S. Legal Strategy Team; and Diego Archer (’04), who splits his time between Fragomen’s Dallas and Houston offices, where he provides advice to clients’ offshore workers, vessel and rig operators and commissions, engineers and technical personnel. Rising 3L CWRU Law student Christina Dombrowski interned at Fragomen’s London office in summer of 2017.