Columbia Law School Professor Awarded 2020 Root Stimson Award For Efforts Assisting Separated Children at Texas Border

By Brendan Kennedy

Columbia Law School Professor Awarded 2020 Root Stimson Award For Efforts Assisting Separated Children at Texas Border

2020rootstimson winner

The New York State Bar Association (NYSBA), in its efforts to educate the public about the value lawyers bring to their communities, is proud to honor Elora Mukherjee with the 2020 Root Stimson Award. Mukherjee is a professor of law at Columbia Law School and is the founder and director of the school’s Immigrants’ Rights Clinic, which provides legal services to immigrants facing deportation hearings. The award will be presented during NYSBA’s Nov. 7 House of Delegates meeting.

In 2019, Mukherjee joined a group of lawyers in Texas to investigate the urgent humanitarian crisis at detention camps at the border. The group was able to interview over 70 children, some of whom were detained and separated from their parents, kept in horrific conditions with insufficient clothing and bedding and lacked access to medical care.

“NYSBA has long supported the rule of law and access to justice for all, especially our most marginalized populations,” said NYSBA President Scott M. Karson. “It was heartbreaking to hear about the conditions at border detention facilities, but it is my distinct pleasure to present this award to Elora for her noble efforts to ameliorate the lives of these separated children.”

Mukherjee founded the Immigrants’ Rights Clinic in 2014 and has been instrumental in representing individuals and families seeking asylum and advocating for immigrants across the country. She has helped shed a light on the deplorable conditions at border detention facilities and draws attention to the plight of people who are profoundly impacted by the immigration policies of the federal government.

“I am grateful to NYSBA for this incredible honor,” said Mukherjee. “I would like to dedicate the award to the thousands of asylum seekers and refugees, especially children, who have come to our nation in hopes of seeking better lives and whose dreams of finding safety have been shattered. As a nation, we can and must do better.”

The award is named for Elihu Root and Henry Stimson to honor their commitment to public service. Root served in President Theodore Roosevelt’s administration as secretary of state, received the Nobel Peace Prize and was a president of NYSBA. Stimson was secretary of war under Presidents William Howard Taft, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman. He also served as secretary of state under President Herbert Hoover.

About the New York State Bar Association
The New York State Bar Association is the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. Since 1876, the Association has helped shape the development of law, educated and informed the legal profession and the public, and championed the rights of New Yorkers through advocacy and guidance in our communities.


Contact: Brendan Kennedy
[email protected]

Six diverse people sitting holding signs
gradient circle (purple) gradient circle (green)


My NYSBA Account

My NYSBA Account