Skip to main content

Susan M. Finegan


[email protected]



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)


  • Led the firm’s representation, with the ACLU of Massachusetts and other co-counsel, challenging President Trump’s first immigration executive order “travel ban.”
  • Served as lead counsel in several compelling political asylum matters, 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
  • Draft appellate and amicus briefs in state and federal appellate courts on issues relating to sexual and domestic violence.

Recognition & Awards

  • Best Lawyers in America: Commercial Litigation (2014 – 2020)
  • 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)


  • Co-chair, Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission. Appointed by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.
  • Member (Former Chair), Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Standing Committee Pro Bono Legal Services. Appointed by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.
  • Member, External Advisory Committee, Dartmouth College Campus Climate and Culture Initiative
  • Board of Directors, Massachusetts Equal Justice Fund
  • Member, Women's Forum Advisory Committee, Boston Bar Association
  • Member, Dartmouth College Alumni Council
  • Member, 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

Recent Insights

News & Press


Firm Partners with ACLU of MA in Lawsuit Against the President’s Travel Ban

February 7, 2017 | | By Susan Finegan, Susan Cohen, Elizabeth Burnett, Michael Gardener, Peter Biagetti

We are currently serving as co-counsel with the ACLU of Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office, and others in a lawsuit against the president’s executive order curbing immigration by refugees and others traveling from seven majority Muslim countries.
Read more

News & Press

News Thumbnail
An article published by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly reported that a victory secured in federal court by lawyers from Mintz and the American Civil Liberties Union is having a profound effect on the way bond hearings are conducted in deportation cases. The article included commentary from attorneys on the front lines in the Boston immigration court. One lawyer called the ruling a “breath of fresh air” and a “massive change in the law.”
News Thumbnail

Women, Influence & Power in Law 2019: Susan M. Finegan

December 2, 2019 | Corporate Counsel

Mintz Member and Chair of the firm’s Pro Bono Committee Susan M. Finegan was profiled in Corporate Counsel’s December issue—a special report featuring the winners of the publication’s 2019 Women, Influence & Power in Law Awards, which honored attorneys who have demonstrated a commitment to advancing the empowerment of women in law.

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.
News Thumbnail
Articles published by Law360 and MassLive reported that Mintz, together with the ACLU of Massachusetts and the ACLU of New Hampshire, 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.

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.
News Thumbnail
On November 12, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on three consolidated cases challenging the legality of President Trump’s decision to phase-out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy, which protects eligible immigrant youth who came to the United States when they were children from deportation.
News Thumbnail
Law360 covered a summary judgment argument by lawyers from Mintz and the American Civil Liberties Union in a class action lawsuit, Pereira Brito v. Barr, challenging the government’s practice of denying due process to detained immigrants.
An article published by Law360 covered a motion hearing in a class action lawsuit, Pereira Brito v. Barr, filed by Mintz, together with the ACLU of Massachusetts and the ACLU of New Hampshire, challenging the government’s practice of denying due process to detained immigrants.

Mintz, ACLU Lead Charge to End Unlawful ICE Detentions

June 19, 2019 | Mass Lawyers Weekly

Articles published by Law360 and Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly report on a class action lawsuit filed by Mintz, together with the ACLU of Massachusetts and the ACLU of New Hampshire, challenging the government’s practice of denying due process to detained immigrants.

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.
Susan Cohen, Chair of the Immigration practice, and Sue Finegan, a litigator and Chair of Mintz’s Pro Bono Committee, were quoted in a Law360 article covering the efforts by law who may be taking on more pro bono matters as a result of actions by the Trump administration.
The Legal Services Corporation will honor Mintz Member Susan Finegan for her commitment to pro bono legal services in Massachusett. Ms. Finegan’s dedication to expanding pro bono work was a highlight in her nomination.
Mintz Member ​Susan Finegan is the recipient of the 2017 Volunteer Lawyers Project Yvette C. Mendez award for her dedication to making the Pro Bono Appellate Project a success.
Press Release Thumbnail
Best Lawyers named 85 Mintz attorneys to its 2018 list of The Best Lawyers in America. In addition, Mintz attorneys Matthew J. Gardella and Samuel M. Tony Starr were named “Lawyer of the Year” in their respective practice areas.
Mintz's Sue Finegan discusses the access to justice movement by appellate lawyers using the due process clause of both the state and federal constitutions to advocate for a constitutionally based right to counsel. 
Susan M. Finegan, a Member of Mintz's Litigation Practice and Chair of the Pro Bono Committee, has been selected as the 2017 Woman of the Year on behalf of the Women’s Law Center at Boston College Law School.

BC Law Voices on Trump Ban

February 21, 2017 | BC Law Magazine

Member Sue Finegan is among the alumni featured in an article from the February issue of BC Law Magazine focused on the early retaliatory steps and reactions to President Trump’s executive order banning immigration from seven Muslim majority countries.

ACLU files complaint in Boston seeking full repeal of Trump order

February 1, 2017 | The Boston Herald

This article covers the Massachusetts ACLU’s complaint seeking repeal of President Trump’s executive order on immigration, stating it is a Muslim ban. Sue Finegan, who is highlighted in the article, is a Member and Chair of Mintz’s Pro Bono Committee.
Susan M. Finegan, Member of the Litigation Practice and Chair of the Pro Bono Committee at Mintz, has been selected as a 2017 Pinnacle Award winner for outstanding achievement in the professions by the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce. 
Best Lawyers named 73 Mintz attorneys to its 2017 list of The Best Lawyers in America. Mintz attorneys selected for inclusion in this year’s list span 44 practice areas. 



Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission Updates

Boston Bar Association

Boston Bar Association, 16 Beacon Street, Boston, MA


Pro Bono Institute Annual Conference

Gaylord National Resort, 201 Waterfront Street, National Harbor, MD


Massachusetts Bar Foundation’s 2019 Annual Meeting & Reception

Federal Reserve Building, 600 Atlantic Avenue, Boston, MA


Access to Justice Fellows Program Information Session

Boston Bar Association

Boston Bar Association, 16 Beacon Street, Boston, MA


LEAD: Women on Boards

Women of Dartmouth

Mintz, One Financial Center, Boston, MA


Appellate Bench-Bar Conference

John Adams Courthouse, Boston, MA


Access to Justice in Brazil and the U.S.

Boston College Law School, 885 Centre Street Newton, MA


Keynote Address on Access to Justice Initiatives

Liberty Mutual - 141 Congress Street Boston, MA 02110


National Meeting of State Access to Justice Commission Chairs and State Supreme Court Justices

American Bar Association

Thomas Jefferson School of Law San Diego, CA


Conference on Law and State Government Fellowship Symposium

Indiana University McKinney School of Law


Pro Bono Appellate Pilot Program

Boston Bar Association

16 Beacon Street, Boston, MA


Expanding Access to Justice by Engaging Senior Fellows

Boston Bar Association

16 Beacon St. Boston, Ma


Pro Bono Institute Conference

Pro Bono Institute

Capital Hilton 1001 16th St NW, Washington, DC


Pilot Pro Bono Civil Appeals Clinic

Boston Bar Association

Boston, MA