The French government has honored Robert Banta, managing partner of the Atlanta office of the law firm Fragomen, Del Rey and Bernsen, with the insignia of the Knight of the National Order of Merit.

Jean-Paul Monchau, France’s consul general for the Southeast, conferred the insignia, a six-pointed cross hanging from a deep blue ribbon, during a ceremony at the consul general’s residence in Atlanta on Nov. 15.

Mr. Monchau thanked Mr. Banta for the assistance that he has provided to a series of French consuls general posted in Atlanta including Jacky Musnier, Gérard Blanchot and Daniel Paret, as well as himself.

He also cited Mr. Banta’s service as a member of the board of governors of the Alliance Française and the board of directors of the French-American Chamber of Commerce, of which he was president from 1994-1998.

“In that position you have rendered very important services to the development of trade relations between this part of the country and France and have done everything you could to encourage French investments in Georgia and in the Southeast,” he said to Mr. Banta.

The National Order of Merit was instituted by French President Charles de Gaulle in 1963 and currently has about 200,000 members. More than 10 years of distinguished service are required before an individual may be considered for the honor.

Mr. Banta may be reached by calling (404) 249-1211 or e-mail