Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C today announced that Susan J. Cohen, a Member in the firm's Boston office and Chair of the its Immigration section and Susan M. Finegan, Chair of the firm's Pro Bono Committee and a Member of its Litigation section, have been named to the newly created Boston Bar Association (BBA) Task Force on Civil Right to Counsel.
The goal of the Task Force is to provide access to publicly funded legal services for low-income individuals facing civil proceedings involving such things as shelter, sustenance, safety and healthcare. Currently the right to counsel only applies to criminal proceedings. A number of states, including Massachusetts, are considering providing civil counsel to low-income people as outlined in a 2006 resolution by the American Bar Association and endorsed by the BBA.
Ms. Cohen is actively involved in the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and has chaired and co-chaired a wide range of national AILA committees. She serves as Vice Chair of the Immigration Subcommittee of the ABA's Section of International Law and Practice and publishes the ABA's electronic immigration and nationality committee newsletter. Ms. Cohen serves as the ABA's liaison to the Department of Labor on immigration-related issues. She has won awards for her political asylum work from the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, from the Political Asylum Immigration Representation (PAIR) project and from Mintz Levin. She currently serves as the Chair of the Board of PAIR.
Ms. Finegan manages the firm's pro bono efforts in addition to serving as the Chair of the firm's Pro Bono Committee. She was an associate and then a Member in the firm's litigation section before leaving in 2004 to serve as Legal Director of the Victim Rights Law Center, overseeing the expansion of civil legal services to over 300 survivors of sexual assault annually throughout Massachusetts. She also provided training and technical assistance to federally funded legal services programs nationwide. In addition to her role as Legal Director, Ms. Finegan served as the Center's Interim Executive Director in 2005. In 2006, Ms. Finegan was appointed to the Massachusetts Trial Court's Gender Equality Advisory Board. She also served on the Board of Directors of the Political Asylum/Immigration Representation Project for ten years, most recently as its Vice President.
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