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Mintz Honored with PAIR’s 2020 Pro Bono Mentor Award

Pro bono litigation team recognized for work to achieve groundbreaking victory for immigrants’ rights and mentorship provided to the legal community

Mintz is pleased to share that the firm has been named a co-recipient of the Political Asylum/Immigration Representation (PAIR) Project’s 2020 Pro Bono Mentor Award in recognition of the firm’s commitment to direct representation, high-quality pro bono work, and mentorship on federal litigation issues. Mintz and the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts (ACLUM) will be honored as awardees at the annual PAIR Gala to be held on June 8.

In November 2019, Mintz achieved a groundbreaking victory for immigrants’ rights when Chief U.S. District Judge Patti B. Saris ruled that the government’s practice of detaining certain immigrants by default violates both due process and the Administrative Procedure Act. Together with the ACLUM and the ACLU of New Hampshire, Mintz filed the first-of-its-kind class action lawsuit, Pereira Brito v. Barr, on behalf of immigrants who were jailed due to flawed detention hearings in which the detainee was required to bear the burden of proof as to not being a flight risk or a danger to the community. The government’s practice ran contrary to multiple federal court decisions holding that such a procedure is unlawful. The ruling had an immediate impact in Boston immigration court, and many class members have been released from detention.

After the ruling, Mintz hosted a two-part pro bono training with the ACLUM on habeas corpus litigation to ensure that all class members requiring counsel would be represented in their bond hearings. Notably, more than 100 potential pro bono attorneys attended these trainings.

“We are so happy to honor Mintz and the ACLUM this year—for the team’s dedication, compassion, and ceaseless efforts to uphold the legal rights of immigrants who are being detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and yet who are eligible to be released from detention as a direct result of the Pereira Brito team’s litigation efforts,” said Anita Sharma, Executive Director and Senior Attorney at PAIR.

“It’s rewarding to receive recognition for our work in Pereira Brito v. Barr, which continues to have a profound effect on the way bond hearings are conducted in Massachusetts,” said Susan Finegan, Mintz Member, Chair of the firm’s Pro Bono Committee, and lead counsel on the Pereira Brito matter. “We are grateful to the ACLUM for their strong partnership on this case, and to PAIR for the organization’s ongoing efforts to promote the rights of detained immigrants.”

The Mintz pro bono team representing the plaintiffs in this case, and recognized by PAIR, includes Ms. Finegan and Member Susan Cohen, Special Counsel Andrew Nathanson, and Associates Mathilda McGee-Tubb, Jennifer Mather McCarthy, and Ryan Dougherty.