Sue is a nationally recognized pro bono pioneer with a passion for helping underserved populations and exceptional litigation skills. As chair of Mintz’s Pro Bono Committee, she leads groundbreaking cases and manages pro bono matters for the firm. She has helped to defeat President Trump’s first immigration travel ban in early 2017, engineer the passage of a Massachusetts restraining order law for sexual assault survivors, and create several innovative statewide model pro bono programs in Massachusetts. She serves as co-chair of the Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission, which focuses on civil justice for low-income and disadvantaged people.
Sue is a Member in the Litigation Section and is Chair of the Pro Bono Committee. Appointed the firm’s first Pro Bono Partner in 2007, Sue serves as lead counsel on numerous high profile pro bono litigation matters. She also manages the firm’s pro bono efforts, consisting of over 300 varied cases annually throughout Mintz’s eight offices, and advises firm clients on developing and sustaining pro bono programs within their in-house legal departments.
As member and current co-chair of the Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission for several years, Sue has been a tireless and innovative advocate for low income people in Massachusetts and beyond. She has spearheaded creative funding mechanisms to support legal aid organizations and developed the statewide civil appellate pro bono program for self-represented litigants. Seven years ago, she co-founded the Access to Justice Fellows program, in which 139 retired and retiring lawyers have devoted over 100,000 pro bono hours at legal services organizations, nonprofits, and the courts.
From 2004 to 2007, Sue served as legal director of the Victim Rights Law Center, overseeing free statewide civil legal services to sexual assault survivors and providing training to legal aid attorneys nationally. While previously at Mintz, from 1993 to 2004, as an associate and then a partner, Sue handled complex commercial, white collar, defamation, land use, and insurance defense matters in both state and federal trial and appellate courts. She also performed extensive pro bono work, including oversight of the firm’s Domestic Violence Project.
Following law school, Sue served as a law clerk for the Honorable Andrew A. Caffrey at the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts and for the Honorable Francis P. O’Connor at the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.
- Boston College (JD)
- Dartmouth College (BA)
- Served as lead counsel on several high impact immigration litigation matters with the ACLU of Massachusetts:
- Achieved a groundbreaking victory for detained immigrants in a class action case, Pereira Brito v. Barr, that held that the government’s bond hearings were unconstitutional, Previously, the detainee was required to bear the burden of proof as to not being a flight risk or a danger to the community in order to be released from detention; this ruling had an immediate impact in Boston immigration court, and many class members were released from detention.
- Challenged President Trump’s first immigration executive order “travel ban."
- Oversaw several compelling political asylum cases, including one that is the subject of a Steven Spielberg documentary, Finding Oscar.
- Managed a team of Mintz Levin attorneys who advocated for the eventual passage of a new criminally enforceable restraining order law for sexual assault survivors in Massachusetts, filing a gap in the existing statute. For these efforts, the American Bar Association awarded the firm its Pro Bono Publico Award.
- Successfully argued for a civil right to counsel for indigent parents in certain guardianship matters, favorably impacting hundreds of low income parents each year; Argued alongside L.B. v. Chief Justice of the Prob. & Family Ct. Dep’t, 49 N.E.3d 230 (Mass. 2016).
Specialize in representing of victims of crime and the nonprofits that serve them.
- Represent several families impacted by crime, including high profile domestic violence homicides and Boston Marathon bombing survivors.
- Represent hundreds of individual domestic violence and sexual assault survivors.
- Advise domestic violence shelters and rape crisis centers on a variety of legal matters.
Recognition & Awards
- Recommended by The Legal 500 United States for Labor & Employment: Immigration (2020)
- Best Lawyers in America: Commercial Litigation (2014 – present)
- Litigation Counsel of America (trial lawyer honor society limited to less than one-half of one percent of lawyers/judges)
- Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent
- Corporate Counsel Women, Influence & Power in Law Awards, Law Firm Honoree in Collaborative Leadership Category (2019)
- Massachusetts Bar Foundation, Great Friend of Justice Award (2019)
- The Second Step, Founders’ Award (2019)
- Legal Services Corporation, Pro Bono Award (2017)
- Volunteer Lawyers Project, Yvette Mendez Award (2017)
- Boston College Law School, Women’s Law Center, Woman of the Year Award (2017)
- Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, Pinnacle Award (2017)
- Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, Top Women of the Law - Circle of Excellence Award (2015)
- International Bar Association Pro Bono Award (2013)
- Women's Bar Association of Massachusetts, Lelia J. Robinson Award (2013)
- Political Asylum/Immigration Representation (PAIR) Project Outstanding Achievement Award (2013); Pro Bono Law Firm Award (2017)
- Jane Doe, Inc. Inaugural Kelly Timilty Advocate for Justice Award (2013)
- Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly/Massachusetts Bar Association Excellence in Pro Bono Award (2012)
- Massachusetts Super Lawyers: Legal Aid/Legal Services (2012)
- Dartmouth College Alumni Award (2011, awarded to those who have demonstrated extraordinary service to Dartmouth and civic organizations in addition to career accomplishment)
- Boston College Law School Curtin Center for Public Interest Pro Bono Service Award (2011)
- Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly Women of Justice Award (2009)
- Boston Business Journal: “40 Under 40” business leaders (2003)
- Mintz Special Recognition Award for Distinguished Service and Significant Contributions to the Pro Bono Program (2003)
- Mintz Pro Bono Award (1998)
- Dartmouth College Young Alumni Distinguished Service Award (1996)
- St. Thomas More Award, Boston College Law School (1991)
- Board of Trustees, Dartmouth College
- Co-chair, Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission. Appointed by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.
- Chair, Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission's COVID-19 Task Force
- Member (Former Chair), Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Standing Committee Pro Bono Legal Services. Appointed by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.
- Board of Directors, Massachusetts Equal Justice Fund
- Member, Women's Forum Advisory Committee, Boston Bar Association
- Member, Dartmouth College Alumni Council
- Chair, Dartmouth College Alumni Awards Committee
- Former Chair and Member, Massachusetts Commission on Judicial Conduct
- Former Member, Judicial Nominating Commission
- Former Chair, Merit Selection Panel for Magistrate Judge, United States District Court
- Former Member, Boston Bar Association Council
- Former Member, Boston Bar Association's Task Force on Expanding the Civil Right to Counsel
- Former Board of Directors, Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, Inc.
- Former Member, Trial Court Gender Equality Advisory Board
- Former Board of Directors, Women’s Bar Foundation
- Former President, Dartmouth College Association of Alumni
- Former Member, Presidential Steering Committee on Moving Dartmouth Forward
- Former Board of Advisors, Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy at Dartmouth College
- Former Member, External Advisory Committee, Dartmouth College Campus Climate and Culture Initiative
News & Press
February 7, 2017 | | By Susan Finegan, Susan Cohen, Elizabeth Burnett, Michael Gardener, Peter Biagetti
News & Press
June 16, 2020
Mintz Practice Groups and Attorneys Garner Top Rankings in 2020 Edition of The Legal 500 United States
June 12, 2020
May 22, 2020
April 23, 2020
March 17, 2020
December 2, 2019
Ms. Finegan was recognized as a law firm honoree in the Collaborative Leadership Category for her outstanding work leading Mintz’s pro bono program and for her partnership efforts with advocacy organizations in the legal community.
In the Q&A, Ms. Finegan discussed her career path, shared leadership advice, and addressed her drive to find legal solutions for her most vulnerable clients.
The first-of-its-kind class action lawsuit, Pereira Brito v. Barr, was filed in June 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 latest ruling holds that the class of immigrants are entitled to bond hearings at which the government bears the burden of justifying an immigrant’s detention, and at which the immigration court must consider someone’s ability to pay when setting a bond amount.
The Mintz pro bono team representing the plaintiffs in this case includes Members Susan Finegan and Susan Cohen, Special Counsel Andrew Nathanson, and Associates Mathilda McGee-Tubb, Jennifer Mather McCarthy, and Ryan Dougherty.
The Supreme Court’s Upcoming Decision in the DACA Cases Could Place LGBTQ Recipients at Serious Risk
November 11, 2019
November 6, 2019
August 6, 2019
June 19, 2019
In Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, Member and Chair of Mintz’s Pro Bono Committee Susan Finegan and Member and Founding Chair of Mintz’s Immigration Practice Susan Cohen discuss the purpose of the lawsuit and the legal challenges facing detained immigrants in Massachusetts and beyond.
To view the full press release on this lawsuit, please click here.