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Mintz Attorney Narges M. Kakalia Receives Human Rights First’s Pro Bono Star Award

Narges M. Kakalia, a Member of the Litigation Section of Mintz, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C., has received Human Rights First’s prestigious Pro Bono Star award for excellence in legal advocacy. 

Human Rights First is a nonprofit, nonpartisan international human rights organization based in New York, Houston, and Washington, D.C. The organization presents its Pro Bono Star award annually to lawyers who show extraordinary commitment in their pro bono representation of clients in asylum and other immigration cases.

Ms. Kakalia is being recognized for her representation of a gay Jamaican man, who had been the victim of several brutal homophobic attacks in Jamaica, including most recently in 2012-2013, after his deportation from the United States. The client engaged Ms. Kakalia and a team of other Mintz attorneys to represent him in a series of appeals from the denial of his asylum claim, which he initially had handled without the benefit of counsel. Ms. Kakalia and her team advocated successfully for their client at the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, the Board of Immigration Appeals and Immigration Court. Once the case was re-opened by the Immigration Court and scheduled for a hearing on Asylum and Withholding of Removal, Ms. Kakalia then sought significant public benefit parole, an extraordinary and rarely-granted remedy that returns deported individuals to the United States in only a handful of very compelling cases. The client’s parole was approved, and he returned to the safety of the United States in 2013. Ms. Kakalia and her team then successfully advocated for him at the Immigration Court, where he ultimately was granted asylum in August 2013.

“We congratulate Narges on this well-deserved recognition and the tremendous result in this important case,” said Susan M. Finegan, a Member of Mintz Litigation Section and Chair of the firm’s Pro Bono Committee. “In this case, and in all of her Pro Bono work, Narges has distinguished herself as a tireless advocate for the underserved and underrepresented in our community. We are thrilled that Human Rights First has selected her for this honor.”

Ms. Kakalia is committed to promoting social justice and human rights on behalf of unrepresented and marginalized individuals. She has won asylum for victims of persecution and torture from Pakistan, Cameroon, Burma, Jamaica and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and has worked on behalf of victims of domestic violence to obtain Orders of Protection. Ms. Kakalia is a member of the firm’s Diversity Committee and Pro Bono Committee. She also manages the pro bono practice of the New York office.