Muhammad Usman Faridi, a Manhattan attorney who has combined his passion for human rights with a successful legal career, has been awarded the State Bar Association’s Outstanding Young Lawyer Award for 2014.
The award, presented by the association’s Young Lawyers Section, honors attorneys in practice for fewer than 10 years who have demonstrated outstanding service to both the community and the legal profession.
Faridi, an associate at Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler, received the award on January 29 during the Bar Association’s Annual Meeting in New York City.
“Muhammad is an outstanding lawyer with an unwavering commitment to human rights and the rule of law,” said Lisa R. Schoenfeld of Garden City (Schlissel Ostrow Karabatos), chair of the Young Lawyers Section. “To have achieved so much at such a young age is a testament to his dedication, drive and passion. This award is well deserved.”
Faridi is a member of his firm’s litigation practice. In the past five years, he has spent hundreds of hours helping pro bono clients through the firm’s outreach efforts. He also regularly donates his time to sharing his expertise in human rights issues, particularly capital punishment matters, with local high school students.
“Muhammad possesses a rare combination of intellect, curiosity, drive, determination, motivation and compassion,” said Lisa E. Cleary, a partner at Patterson Belknap and chair of the firm’s Pro Bono Committee.
Faridi grew up in Bharth, a small village in northeastern Pakistan, and immigrated to Brighton Beach in Brooklyn when he was in seventh grade. He worked 30 hours a week while learning English and attending high school in Brooklyn.
While attending college and working as a cab driver in 2001, Faridi had a fortuitous encounter with former Irish President Mary Robinson, a passenger in his cab. Faridi and Robinson, then the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, began discussing Faridi’s passion for human rights, and Robinson encouraged him to go to law school.
After graduating from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, he received his law degree from the City University of New York School of Law.
Faridi chairs the New York City Bar Association’s Capital Punishment Committee and has become a sought-after expert in issues related to capital punishment, such as the federal death penalty, prosecutorial misconduct in death penalty cases, ethics and criminal justice. He received the State Bar’s Law Student Legal Ethics Award for his work on the rights of detainees at Guantanamo Bay.
With 75,000 members, the New York State Bar Association is the largest voluntary state bar association in the country. It was founded in 1876.
-30-Contact: Mark Mahoney
Associate Director of Media ServicesMmahoney@nysba.org