Page 16 of 19

Collaborating for Communities

Additional Pro Bono Highlights from 2014

Assistance and Healing

In 2013, “Adam” and his father were victims of a horrific car accident in their home country. Their car was hit by a drunk driver and it went up in flames. Adam’s father did not survive the accident, and 14-year-old Adam sustained second- and third-degree burns over 80% of his body and hovered between life and death for weeks. While Adam was treated as much as possible in his home country, the severity of his situation ultimately required a transfer to Shriners Hospitals for Children – Boston, one of the leading burn treatment facilities in the world. Although Adam and his mother, “Debbie,” entered the United States as visitors (who are normally granted permission to remain in the country for no more than six months), Adam’s condition necessitated a prolonged stay in the country so that he could receive continuing care. This has posed significant immigration challenges to Adam and his mother.

Attorneys Susan Cohen and Lisa Redepenning were able to obtain visa extensions for Adam and his mother to ensure Adam’s ongoing treatment. After renewing their visitor status for almost two years, however, Adam and his mother recently had to return to their home country and reenter the United States. Mintz Levin global visa manager Danielle Lifrieri worked with the Department of Homeland Security to facilitate their return to the United States, paving the way for Susan to meet the family’s plane on the tarmac and escort them through the immigration screening, and securing permission for them to stay for twice the normally permitted length of time granted to visitors. Secure in this lengthy “approval period,” Adam and his mom now can put their immigration worries behind them and concentrate on Adam’s healing process, which requires a series of surgeries throughout the coming year. Adam and his mother have said that they have no words to express their gratitude for Mintz Levin’s pro bono immigration assistance, making it possible for Adam to receive the best possible medical care in the world.

BioBuilder Educational Foundation

The BioBuilder Educational Foundation is a charitable organization with a mission to put current scientific research into the hands of teachers and students. BioBuilder converts exciting and ongoing research questions in biological engineering and other STEM subjects into teachable modules, including teaching curricula, web-based animations, and in-class and laboratory activities. These modules increase student interest, engagement, and understanding of science and engineering.

Much of BioBiuilder’s original curriculum was developed by founder Natalie Kuldell, a professor at MIT. Mintz Levin attorney John Dellapa assisted BioBuilder in securing clear rights to its curriculum from MIT, and he and fellow attorney Rachel Weisblatt have since further assisted BioBuilder as it establishes contractual arrangements with collaborators, manufacturers, and others during a period of rapid growth.

Boston Bar Association Public Interest Leadership Program

Attorney Katy Ward participated in the Boston Bar Association’s Public Interest Leadership Program (PILP), which promotes civic engagement and public service by advancing the leadership role of lawyers in service to their community, their profession, and the Commonwealth. PILP participants connect with prominent community leaders at meetings and events, learn about the challenges confronting local organizations, and take part in efforts to address specific community needs. Each PILP class completes a project during its program. The 2014 class trained young probationers (18 to 24 years old) on various legal topics as part of a reentry program. Katy prepared and presented the session on housing, focusing on the impact the probationers’ criminal records have on their affordable housing options.

Domestic Violence Project

Mintz Levin’s Domestic Violence Project was founded in Boston in 1989 and is now active in several Mintz Levin offices. Through the years, hundreds of the firm’s attorneys, paraprofessionals, and staff members have worked on behalf of individual survivors. Beyond helping victims directly, attorneys have served as legal counsel for more than 25 nonprofits dedicated to combating domestic violence and sexual assault, and have partnered with these organizations to advocate for legislative reform and to write amicus and appellate briefs at the state and federal levels.

This past year, one of the many domestic violence cases Mintz Levin assisted with involved “Jack,” a legally blind client who suffered verbal and emotional abuse, manipulation, and threats by his now ex-wife. The verbal and emotional abuse and threats continued even after Jack and his ex-wife divorced in 2008, and Jack was first referred to Mintz Levin in 2011 to pursue an extension of his original restraining order. The three-year extension granted in 2011 lapsed in 2014, and Jack remained in fear of his ex-wife. Due to his vision impairment, Jack cannot see if his ex-wife is nearby, or whether she is following him on the street. Recently engaged, Jack also feared that his ex-wife would harm him or his fiancée if the restraining order did not remain in place. Attorney Rebecca Zeidel and project analyst Pat Regan were able to secure an 18-month extension to the restraining order to help continue to keep Jack safe.

Economic Justice Project

With the Economic Justice Project (EJP), Mintz Levin’s transactional attorneys use their skills and resources to help low-income entrepreneurs who are starting or expanding small businesses located in underserved communities in Greater Boston. Once or twice a year, the attorneys involved with the EJP conduct pro bono clinics to address the issues facing small businesses. Some of the entrepreneurs with whom the attorneys meet in Boston go on to become pro bono clients, who typically need assistance with a range of issues relating to entity-formation, employment, real estate, and intellectual property protection. For example, in 2014, the firm assisted with the formation of a new Massachusetts nonprofit organization, Heartbeats, Inc., founded with the goal of building a community that benefits and addresses the needs of people who suffer from mental, emotional, or physical disabilities, regardless of their capacity to pay. Mintz Levin attorneys continue their work with the newly formed organization, helping the founder to obtain federal tax-exempt status for the nonprofit. Attorneys Caroline Gammill and Lindsay Leone and former project analysts Kristen Chapman and Raj Dhaliwal coordinated the projects in 2014, with project analyst Patrick Regan joining the EJP coordination efforts in 2015. Attorneys Anthony Hubbard, Christine Baker, Eric Blythe, and Kaoru Suzuki and former Mintz Levin attorneys Ken Appleby, Tavis Morello, Esther Cho, Jack Schecter, and Christine Wahr also contributed to EJP in 2014.

The Foundation to Be Named Later

The Foundation to Be Named Later (FTBNL) is an organization started in 2005 by Theo Epstein, the current president of the Chicago Cubs and the former executive vice president and general manager of the Boston Red Sox, and his twin brother Paul Epstein, a social worker at Brookline High School. FTBNL raises funds and awareness for nonprofit agencies working on the front lines to serve disadvantaged youth in the Greater Boston area. It invests in programs that teach leadership, education, and healthy development of families and also sends severely under-resourced young people with great potential to college. FTBNL has grown in scope and reach since its founding, and to date has granted $6 million to over 200 nonprofit agencies benefiting urban youth and families.

FTBNL also has its own direct action program, the Peter Gammons Scholars, and now supports 46 under-resourced students at four-year colleges around the country. Each scholar, a first-generation college student, receives a mentor and a laptop to give him or her a better chance of success in college. Theo and Paul also teamed up with Baseball Hall of Fame journalist Peter Gammons, who, along with a team of All Stars, had been organizing the Hot Stove Cool Music benefit concert since 2000. Hot Stove Cool Music has been the centerpiece fundraising event for FTBNL since 2005 and is held every January in Boston and, since Theo’s move to the Cubs in 2012, every summer in Chicago.

Mintz Levin was engaged by FTBNL to reclaim two website addresses, and, which were used to promote the benefit concert and which had been squatted on and pirated by two different entities: a Japanese electronics dealer and an Internet pornography business. Attorneys Ben Wagner and Justin Nahama were the primary architects of the strategy to reclaim the websites. Ben and Justin conducted an investigation and gathered extensive evidence to support FTBNL’s site ownership claims and then filed UDRP (Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy) complaints against both entities with the National Arbitration Forum. After a hearing and review by an independent arbitrator, control of both websites was returned to FTBNL in time to promote the next Hot Stove Cool Music concert events benefiting FTBNL and its beneficiary programs and students.

Gazmend (“Gazi”) Kapllani

Gazmend (“Gazi”) Kapllani grew up in Albania under the totalitarian regime of Enver Hoxha. After escaping to Greece in 1991 at age 24, he began his career as a prolific journalist, poet, novelist, and human rights activist. He eventually wrote of his experiences as a refugee in A Short Border Handbook, which became an international bestseller. In 2013, Gazi was a fellow at the Harvard Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, where he continued work on his most recent novel. When the Mintz Levin team tasked with securing Gazi’s EB-1A visa sat down to sketch out a strategy, their biggest issue was figuring out how to break down the mountains of evidence supporting his status as a “person of extraordinary ability” to develop a concise and coherent petition. On first glance, Gazi fulfilled over half of the 10 EB-1A criteria (only three are needed to satisfy United States Citizenship and Immigration Services requirements). Over the course of several months, his attorneys, Susan Cohen and Cassie Ramos, with the help of former project analysts Emma Nitzberg and Ana Lopez, created an application that beautifully conveyed the heartbreak and triumph of Gazi’s tale. In October 2014, Gazi received his permanent resident status.

Greater Boston PFLAG

Greater Boston PFLAG consists of parents, families, and allies of LGBT people, all working together to change environments, strengthen families, and advance equality and societal acceptance of LGBT individuals. In addition to sponsoring parent support groups and engaging in public advocacy, Greater Boston PFLAG conducts a sophisticated array of anti-bullying and diversity trainings in schools, religious organizations, and businesses throughout Massachusetts. During the past year, attorneys Jessica Catlow, Meryl Epstein, Anthony Hubbard, and Nancy Adams have worked with the organization on corporate governance, nonprofit, contract, insurance, and employment matters.

Hatzalah Volunteer Ambulance Corps

Hatzalah is the largest volunteer ambulance service in the United States, with 14 local chapters in the New York metropolitan area, over 1,000 emergency medical technicians, 180 paramedics, and 80 ambulances. Mintz Levin provided a variety of legal services to the organization, under the guidance of attorney Jeff Moerdler. Jeff is an EMT with Hatzalah and co-president of its local chapter in Riverdale. He also serves on the executive board of the city-wide parent entity and as co-chair of its legal committee.

Attorney Russell Fox, with assistance from fellow attorney Jordan Cohen and others, has continued to work on communications regulatory issues for Hatzalah. In 2013, the team obtained a landmark ruling from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) allowing Hatzalah to be the first non-governmental entity to be authorized by the FCC to receive caller ID information for blocked land lines and for cell phones. The attorneys are now working to implement that ruling by applying for a similar ruling from the New York Public Service Commission. In addition, they have handled various other FCC permitting applications for Hatzalah’s private radio broadcast antenna network.

Jordan and another Mintz Levin attorney, Diane Bourque, have also addressed a wide variety of HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) questions relating to Hatzalah’s operations and its privacy policy. Attorney David Katz has also handled various employment issues for Hatzalah, and Jeff Moerdler has handled several antenna leases for Hatzalah’s antenna network.

Health Center – Codman Square

Real estate attorneys Eric Freeman and Jennifer Sacco Smith and former Mintz Levin attorney Ken Gantz represented Codman Square Health Center in a creative collaboration of nonprofits, which included Mintz Levin drafting and negotiating a lease of nearly 10,000 square feet in Dorchester, Massachusetts to Codman Square Health Center’s newest tenant: Daily Table, a unique not-for-profit grocery store operated by The Urban Food Initiative.

Community stalwart (and pro bono client) Codman Square Health Center has long offered a wide variety of clinical, public health, and community programs to Dorchester and the surrounding communities. Daily Table, founded by the former president of Trader Joe’s, opened its doors in May 2015 in its new Codman Square home. Daily Table brings the community fresh produce and healthy prepared meals, affordably priced to compete with fast food alternatives, by recovering food from supermarkets, growers, and food distributors that would otherwise have been wasted. In this way, Daily Table aligns with Codman Square Health Center’s overarching mission to serve as a resource for improving the physical, mental, and social well-being of the community. Daily Table plans additional stores in both the greater Boston area and additional cities across the country.

Daily Table shares space with Healthworks Community Fitness in Codman Square Health Center’s building, and the three organizations will partner together on programs for improved diet and health overall.

Institute for Brain and Society

Mintz Levin represented the Institute for Brain and Society, which provides funding to the Brain Observatory, an organization dedicated to promoting wider access and study of the human brain. Specifically, the organization is working to set up a library where brains can be donated so that all researchers can have access to a brain database. Mintz Levin attorneys Andrew Skale and Katy Ward and former Mintz Levin attorney Laura Graham provided the Brain Observatory with guidance and advice that enabled it to receive its tax-exempt status as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and meet state filing requirements.

Jane Doe Inc.

Jane Doe Inc. (JDI) is a Massachusetts nonprofit coalition that provides sexual and domestic violence advocacy as well as expert support and resources to over 60 community-based member programs statewide. These local programs are the hubs of expertise in their communities, advocating on behalf of victims and offering confidential support and services to tens of thousands of victims and survivors of sexual and domestic violence and their families each year. Leading into the 2014 election cycle, attorneys Peter Biagetti and John Nucci assisted JDI by advising it on how to avoid any appearances of intervening in a political campaign. Peter and John’s advice was instrumental in ensuring that JDI did not unknowingly place its status as a tax-exempt organization in jeopardy.

Jewish Vocational Services

Jewish Vocational Services focuses on providing educational and employment services to clients in the Greater Boston area. One particular case that came to Mintz Levin through Jewish Vocational Services was that of “Hana,” a young Tunisian woman who had come to the United States for college. Hana married a US citizen and began a marriage-based petition to secure her green card and stay in the country. Unfortunately, Hana’s husband became physically and financially abusive, and Hana was forced to leave the relationship before her status was secured. She then submitted another green card petition, this time as a Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) self-petitioner. Though it should have been granted on the merits of her case, Hana’s petition was denied over a minor procedural matter related to her prior application.

Jewish Vocational Services referred Hana to Mintz Levin attorneys Susan Cohen and Michele Frangella, who quickly undertook the work necessary to override the denial of Hana’s green card petition. Susan and Michele spoke with immigration officers on numerous occasions, requesting that they favorably exercise their discretion to reopen Hana’s case and approve her petition, noting that a minor procedural error made through no fault of Hana’s should not result in her removal from the United States. Ultimately, they brought Hana’s case to the attention of the regional district director. With much persistence, Mintz Levin eventually resolved the procedural matter and procured a green card for Hana, who is now living and working in the Boston area.

Lawyers Clearinghouse

The Lawyers Clearinghouse is an organization dedicated to providing pro bono legal services to residents of homeless shelters and others in need in the Boston area. Mintz Levin has been a partner of the Lawyers Clearinghouse for more than 20 years. Attorneys Kelly Frey, Samantha Kingsbury, and Colin Van Dyke coordinate Mintz Levin’s participation in the Lawyers Clearinghouse legal clinics. One case that came to the firm through Lawyers Clearinghouse involved “Ashish.” Ashish was a permanent resident in the United States since 2008. However, due to a serious mental illness, he has not been able to find meaningful employment. As a result, he no longer had the ability to support himself and had to go to India, where he had family. The last time Ashish tried to enter the United States, he was stopped at the airport because he had been out of the country for too long, according to the border patrol agent that inspected him. Ashish indicated that he was planning on staying at a shelter, and this seemed to raise a red flag that he may not be maintaining his permanent resident status because he only had temporary living arrangements. Lawyer’s Clearinghouse contacted Mintz Levin to represent him in his Immigration Court hearing; Mintz Levin took on the representation with Cassie Ramos as Ashish’s main attorney along with assistance from attorneys Bill Coffman and Narges Kakalia. Legal assistant Randi Saba and project analyst Dana Lindberg also provided critical research and background support.

The team filed a very lengthy brief (over 1,000 pages) documenting Ashish’s actions while in India to indicate that he had no intention of abandoning his green card, and that he always intended to come back to the United States as a permanent resident. The morning of the hearing, counsel for the Department of Homeland Security contacted Mintz Levin to say that he agreed with the firm’s arguments, and that he would join Mintz Levin’s motion to have Ashish’s green card returned to him and to have his status restored to that of a permanent resident. The immigration judge was impressed with the filing, and thanked the Mintz Levin team for taking on this difficult matter. Ashish looks forward to becoming a US citizen as soon as possible.

Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation

For 53 years, the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation has honored Marines by educating their children. The nation’s oldest and largest provider of need-based scholarships to military children, the Scholarship Foundation pays particular attention to those students whose parents have been killed or wounded in combat or demonstrated financial need. The Heroes Tribute Scholarship Programs for Children of the Wounded provides up to $40,000 of scholarship support for children of wounded Marines and Navy Corpsmen serving with the Marines. Since 1962, the organization has awarded more than 30,000 scholarships valued at over $90,000,000. For the 2014–2015 academic year, scholarships were awarded to 2,194 students, totaling more than $6,600,000. Mintz Levin provides the Scholarship Foundation with legal services in a variety of areas, including trademark, copyright, data security, information privacy, insurance, trust and estate, corporate, transaction, and investment-advisor relationship matters. The firm’s legal support for the Scholarship Foundation was led by attorney Kevin Ainsworth (a director and general counsel of the Scholarship Foundation) and included attorneys Nancy Adams, Cynthia Larose, Marty Lorenzo, and Peter Miller.

Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Work

Over the past couple of years, Mintz Levin attorneys Caitie Hill and Colin Van Dyke, along with co-counsel from the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights, assisted an African-American real estate broker who had experienced racial discrimination in the course of attempting to show an apartment to an African-American couple. The landlord declared that he would charge the African-American couple more than he would charge a white couple. The broker filed a complaint at the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD), but that resulted in her being “frozen out” by many landlords in the area where she conducted business. The resulting financial impact to her business was severe. Ultimately, she prevailed on her claims and obtained a judgment awarding her $15,000. The defendant filed multiple administrative and judicial appeals, however, so the matter had been pending for over six years by the time the defendant exhausted his final appeal earlier this year. Working closely with the Lawyers Committee and with the MCAD attorneys, Colin and Caitie advocated for favorable and prompt determinations by the Superior Court. The court affirmed MCAD’s award and, with prejudgment interest, the broker received over $26,000 from the defendant.

Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty

The Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, also known as the Met Council, is one of New York’s largest human services agencies, providing 100,000 New Yorkers with critical services in their fight against poverty every year. Since 1972, Met Council has been a defender and advocate for New Yorkers in need and has raised awareness around the growing problem of Jewish poverty. Met Council provides services ranging from domestic violence counseling to kosher food pantries to career training.

Mintz Levin has been representing the Met Council for the past 15 years in the development of a government subsidized, affordable assisted living facility on Staten Island. In 2013 the firm handled the closing of a very complicated tax-exempt bond financing for the construction of the project and the agreements related to capital grants from the City of New York. Construction has proceeded, with many issues arising along the way, and the project is finally nearing completion. During this past year, attorneys Jeff Moerdler, Mike Solet, and Charles Carey advised on tax, bond financing, and real estate issues related to several projected creative uses of portions of that facility that were not contemplated under the bond financing as well as on 501(c)(3) tax exemption issues and a potential recapitalization of the project. Jeff also assisted with easement and construction issues.

National Network to End Domestic Violence

Founded in 1990, and pro bono firm client since 2005, the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) is a national nonprofit membership and advocacy organization comprising a network of dozens of state and territorial coalitions against domestic violence that represent over 2,000 local organizations dedicated to ending domestic violence through legal, legislative, and policy initiatives, as well as to providing shelter, counseling, and legal services to victims and survivors of domestic violence and their families. Mintz Levin attorneys Sandra Badin and Timothy Slattery, with the help and guidance of NNEDV’s outside counsel, former Mintz Levin attorney Helen Guyton, submitted an amicus brief on behalf of NNEDV in Elonis v. United States, an appeal before the United States Supreme Court involving the use of Facebook to transmit threatening messages over the Internet in violation of a federal statute. The question presented in the petition for certiorari was whether, under the First Amendment, proof of subjective intent to threaten is required to convict a person of threatening another. The Third Circuit had upheld as proper the district court’s jury instruction that permitted conviction under the statute if a reasonable person would foresee that his words would be perceived as a threat. In granting the appellant’s petition, the justices also requested that, in addition to addressing the First Amendment question, the parties brief the question of whether, as a matter of statutory construction, proof of a subjective intent to threaten is required to convict, or whether proof under a reasonable person standard is sufficient.

The closely watched case was the first time the Supreme Court addressed threats communicated via social media, so it presented a timely opportunity for NNEDV not only to remind the Court of the critical role threats play in the spectrum of abuse that constitutes domestic violence, but also to educate the Court about the various ways in which social media and other forms of technology have made it easier for abusers to stalk their victims and to threaten them from afar, thereby making it harder for victims to escape the abuse or to stop living in perpetual, debilitating fear.

On June 1, 2015, the Supreme Court issued its decision, holding that while the statute does not, as a matter of statutory construction, require proof of subjective intent, something more than a reasonable person standard is necessary to convict a person of threatening; it then remanded the case back to the Third Circuit. The Court did not resolve the question of whether proof of subjective intent is required as a matter of First Amendment law. Given the increasing ubiquity of social media as a mode of communication, however, we anticipate that it will not be long before the First Amendment question reaches the Court a second time.

Network for Victim Recovery of DC

The Network for Victim Recovery of DC (NVRDC) is a wraparound advocacy and legal services organization assisting those impacted by crime in the District of Columbia. Mintz Levin has provided pro bono work assistance to the organization since its inception. Attorney Carrie Roll assisted NVRDC for months in securing appropriate charitable solicitation licenses. Additionally, attorney Susan Weller offered pro bono representation regarding a trademark issue related to NVRDC’s logo and was able to have a similar logo amended in order to avoid confusing survivors regarding NVRDC and its services.

New York City Family Court Volunteer Attorney Program

Through the New York City Family Court Volunteer Attorney Program, Mintz Levin attorneys use their skills and experience to help unrepresented litigants address family law issues, including child support, domestic violence, visitation, and custody. The program began in Brooklyn Family Court and has since expanded to Manhattan, Queens, Bronx, and Richmond Counties, with over 200 participating attorneys from more than 35 major law firms and companies. The program has helped thousands of families throughout the years. Each month, the attorneys involved with the program meet with litigants for one-time sessions that typically last about 30 minutes each. Attorney Bethany Hickey has coordinated the program for Mintz Levin since 2015. Attorneys Todd Rosenbaum, Lauren Luptak, Stephanie Leopold, Elizabeth Kurpis, and Rachel Gholston also participated in the program in recent years.

Political Asylum/Immigration Representation Project

The Political Asylum/Immigration Representation Project (PAIR) is the primary provider of legal services to low-income asylum seekers and immigration detainees in Massachusetts. One case that came to Mintz Levin through PAIR involved “Henry,” who was born and raised in Uganda. Henry had been targeted and tortured by the Ugandan government as a result of his vocal political support for the opposition party. Both of Henry’s parents had died because they were targeted as opponents of the ruling party at the time. In 2008, at the age of 23, Henry became a member of the Forum for Democratic Change, the primary opposition party to the ruling National Resistance Movement party. After publicly criticizing Ugandan President Museveni for leading a corrupt and repressive regime, Henry was kidnapped and brutally tortured by armed men driving a car with government license plates. Despite this, Henry continued to be a vocal opponent of the government even after his release. Eventually, however, after continued targeting by the government, Henry went into hiding. Henry knew that the only way for him to remain safe from the persecutions of the Ugandan government was to seek asylum in the United States. Using a visa he had for a work-related conference in the United States, Henry was able to leave Uganda in 2011. Through the PAIR Project, Mintz Levin attorneys Martha Koster and Rebecca Raphaelson represented Henry in 2012 and 2013 in his application for asylum, which was granted in August 2013. In 2014, Martha and Rebecca represented Henry in his application for status adjustment to permanent resident, which was approved. Henry received his green card in December 2014.

Prisoners’ Rights

The United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts appointed Mintz Levin to represent a formerly self-represented plaintiff, “Martin,” in his claims against defendants including the Massachusetts Department of Corrections and its officers. Attorneys Sue Finegan, Mandy Carozza, and Joel Rothman represented Martin in his civil rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, based on the Corrections Officers’ use of excessive force against Martin in violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth amendments to the Constitution. Mintz Levin assisted Martin in amending his pro se claims and throughout the discovery process. Fortunately, Mintz Levin was able to reach a favorable settlement for Martin.

Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare

The Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare is a nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening relationships between patients and caregivers with the goal of promoting compassionate care. The center was established through the vision of Ken Schwartz, a former Mintz Levin attorney who, while battling cancer, recognized how the human kindness he received from his caregivers made his plight a little more bearable.

Since helping to start the organization many years ago, Mintz Levin has played a major role in the success of the Schwartz Center. Mintz Levin attorney Steve Weiner serves as the organization’s general counsel, and attorneys Peter Biagetti and Tony Starr serve on the board. In addition, over the past two years, attorneys Dianne Bourque, Sue Finegan, Elissa Flynn-Poppey, Bethany Hickey, Rachel Irving Pitts, Samantha Kingsbury, Kate Stewart, Susan Weller, Ryan Cuthbertson, and Carrie Roll, legal specialist Jacobo Dib, as well as former Mintz Levin attorneys Quincy Ewell, Stefanie Abhar, Kim Gold, Sarah Hogan, and Christine Wahr have lent additional pro bono support. The Mintz Levin team has helped the organization address governance concerns; structure and negotiate strategic initiatives; draft and review contracts; and handle intellectual property, trademark, and government relations issues.


StandWithUs is an international, nonprofit organization that supports Israel by using education as a catalyst to peace. StandWithUs combats anti-Semitism through print materials, speakers, programs, conferences, missions to Israel, campaigns, social media, and Internet resources. A university school newspaper had published an article containing various false, misleading, and defamatory statements concerning StandWithUs. The article was published during a time when tensions ran high on campus based on several widely publicized anti-Semitic incidents. On behalf of StandWithUs, Mintz Levin quickly confronted university representatives about the defamatory article, and the school newspaper quickly removed the article and posted a public retraction.

Surviving in Numbers

Surviving in Numbers is a sexual assault and domestic violence awareness and prevention project. The organization was founded by Alison Safran, who launched the project after she was sexually assaulted. Although Alison contacted police and went through the legal process, she did not feel that justice had been served. As a result, Alison reached out to multiple colleges and other organizations throughout the country, partnering with them to develop Surviving in Numbers. Since the organization’s inception in October 2012, Mintz Levin has incorporated the organization as a nonprofit, and attorneys Meryl Epstein, Kristin Gerber, Cynthia Larose, Julia Siripurapu, and Susan Weller have worked with Surviving in Numbers on corporate governance, nonprofit, intellectual property, privacy, and contract matters.

Tahirih Justice Center

Tahirih is a nationally recognized Washington, DC area–based organization that enables women and girls fleeing gender-based violence to access justice in the United States through high-quality pro bono legal services and bridge-building public policy advocacy. Tahirih has been instrumental in protecting immigrant women and girls seeking justice in the United States from gender-based violence such as female genital cutting, torture, rape, trafficking, honor crimes, forced marriage, and domestic violence. One such case that Tahirih referred involved a U-Visa, a nonimmigrant visa for victims of crimes who have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse and are willing to assist law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of the criminal activity. The client suffered physical, emotional, and verbal abuse at the hands of her ex-boyfriend that culminated in a terrifying and dangerous abduction. Thankfully, she survived the kidnapping and eventually overcame her fears to work with the authorities in prosecuting the abuser. Attorney Farrah Short, with invaluable support and assistance from attorney Helen Kim, former Mintz Levin project analyst Alice Kilpatrick, current project analyst Katherine Fox, and records assistant Lorena Bonilla represented the client through the application process.

Velvet Foundation

The Velvet Foundation is a federal tax exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code that has been formed to develop a national LGBT Museum. It has already begun collecting items of significance to LGBT history in the United States and internationally. While initially the founders contemplated locating the museum physically in Washington, DC, New York City is now a preferred site. Mintz Levin attorneys, including Steve Weiner, Liz Kurpis, and Sam Effron, have provided assistance to the foundation in redrafting its bylaws and with respect to the various corporate and organizational needs associated with its establishing itself in New York.

VLP Housing Court Project

Lawyer for the Day, a joint effort of the Volunteer Lawyers Project and the Real Estate Section of the Boston Bar Association, recruits Boston attorneys to give advice and provide limited representation to pro se tenants facing eviction. Mintz Levin’s participation began as a pilot program in 2010 and became a monthly event in 2011. Under the guidance of the program’s directors, attorney Katy Ward and former Mintz Levin attorney Esther Cho, nine other Mintz Levin attorneys represented tenants in Housing Court in 2014, including Matthew Karambelas, Kaoru Suzuki, Rebecca Zeidel, Richard Maidman, Colleen Witherell, Nick Armington, Derek Constantine, and Serge Subach as well as former Mintz Levin attorney Manny Vazquez.

Wellness Campaign

The Wellness Campaign was founded in June 2014 by Dr. Wayne Altman, registered dietitian Kerri Hawkins, and author Joshua Bernoff with the objective of helping people to make a permanent, positive change in their health. Since its founding, the Wellness Campaign has worked to create and implement programs to educate the public about healthy lifestyle choices. In particular, the campaign focuses on supporting individuals in the following five healthy initiatives: eating better food, managing the quantity of food consumed, maintaining a habit of exercise, embracing activity, and improving sleep and stress management.

Attorney Anthony Hubbard and former Mintz Levin attorney Laura Graham played a pivotal role in forming the Wellness Campaign as a Massachusetts nonprofit, drafting their bylaws and other formation documents, and handling their 501(c)(3) application for tax exemption.

Young Men’s and Young Women’s Hebrew Association

The Young Men’s and Young Women’s Hebrew Association (“Y”) is a community organization that provides a wide range of cultural, educational, recreational, and social activities for all age groups in Jewish communities. Attorney Jeff Moerdler, a past president of the Y, has functioned as its general counsel for transactional matters for the past 30 years and regularly advises on a wide range of issues. Recently a number of other attorneys also contributed pro bono services. Attorneys Steve Friedberg and Amy Lu, for example, handled a construction contract for the renovation of an exterior glass wall. Attorney Nili Yolin stepped in to prepare bylaws and assist with the formalization of a theatre entity that was incubated at the Y and started by one of its former presidents. And when the Y restructured its senior staff and revised its internal staffing policies, attorney David Katz provided counsel on various employment issues. Attorney Peter Miller also pitched in, counseling the Y in connection with several issues related to ensuring that proposed uses of certain endowment funds for specific programs were permitted under the endowment’s restrictions.

© 2015 Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C. All Rights Reserved.