“I always wanted to be a lawyer so that I could that help people... We’re really privileged to be at this firm where we are able to do systemic change work throughout the state and throughout the country around accessing justice for low-income litigants.”
“I’m focused now on making sure that survivors and nonprofits that work most closely with survivors are aware of the change in the law and that they can use it to remove some of those barriers that are holding them back.”
“I think one of the great aspects of the Pro Bono Program is that it enables attorneys, sometimes even at more junior levels, to take a real leadership role in their cases.”
Bob PopeoMintz Chairman
Changing the Narrative
Legal challenges can be life-changing. Having capable legal counsel can make the difference. Our pro bono team has stood with individuals, families, and communities throughout the United States in their pursuit of justice and a better life.
In her socially conservative East African home country, Qwin was attacked and threatened for being a lesbian and an LGBT activist. Realizing that her life was in danger, she sought asylum in the United States and was immediately placed in detention. The Political Asylum/Immigration Research Project (PAIR) referred the case to Mintz, which prepared Qwin’s affidavit and successfully guided her through an asylum hearing within a matter of weeks. The firm is working with Temple Emanuel in Newton, Massachusetts to help Qwin secure the resources she needs to build a new life.
Mintz played an integral role in a multiyear effort to secure passage of a Massachusetts law that streamlines the process for human trafficking victims seeking post-conviction relief for prostitution-related convictions and some drug offenses. The firm collaborated with the Immigrants’ Rights & Human Trafficking Program at the Boston University School of Law, Massachusetts State Representative Michael S. Day, and other stakeholders. The post-conviction language is included in an omnibus criminal justice reform law signed by Governor Charlie Baker in 2018. Since the signing of the law, the Mintz team has been raising awareness and planning trainings for interested Massachusetts attorneys.
The day after President Trump signed his first travel ban, we learned that incoming travelers had been detained at Logan Airport. Pro Bono Chair Sue Finegan and a Mintz team including Immigration Practice Chair Susan Cohen responded immediately. They worked late into the night with the ACLU and immigrant advocates at Boston’s US District Courthouse to craft arguments for a temporary injunction. At 2 am, the judges ruled in their favor. The seven-day hold on the ban helped many travelers, and the team’s arguments were used across the country to extend restrictions on the ban.
Congress allotted $5.5 billion in emergency funds to Mississippi following Hurricane Katrina. Then the state decided wind-damaged properties, mainly in black low-income neighborhoods, didn’t qualify for assistance. Mintz filed a federal lawsuit against HUD that put pressure on Mississippi and eventually resulted in a settlement of $213 million for 5,253 families.
Pro Bono Journals
Read our annual pro bono journals for more stories about our pro bono clients. The courage they display in their pursuit of better lives — for themselves, their families, and our communities — inspires us to do our best on their behalf.
Our pro bono clients seek refuge from troubles that few of us will ever experience. We are proud to share their stories and humbled to know that our support has helped them improve their lives.
Attorneys and professionals across our firm’s eight offices stand with hundreds of pro bono clients each year to help them bridge the distance between often dire circumstances and a better future.
Driving Innovative Programs and Solutions
Mintz has been instrumental in creating and promoting new collaborative partnerships to expand access to justice in our communities. These efforts are made possible through the firm’s long-standing pro bono partnerships.
Partnering with Our Clients
Mintz has partnered with our clients on pro bono projects for over a decade. In one such initiative, Mintz has collaborated with a number of partners to host the Clinic in a Box® pro bono workshops — training in-house lawyers to provide day-of pro bono service to nonprofits. Our partners have included Corporate Pro Bono, the Association of Corporate Counsel-Northeast Chapter, and Lawyers Clearinghouse. Over the course of eight years, Mintz has hosted almost 300 in-house lawyers during the annual clinic.
Access to Justice Commission and Fellows Program
Mintz has been at the forefront of promoting access to justice in Massachusetts. For several years, Pro Bono Committee Chair Sue Finegan has served as the Co-chair of the Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission with the Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. The Commission provides leadership and vision on efforts to remove barriers to civil justice for low-income and disadvantaged people. As a notable example, the firm played a key role in launching the Access to Justice Fellows Program. Primarily the brainchild of Mintz’s Martha Koster and Finegan, this innovative program pairs retired lawyers and judges with legal services organizations, nonprofits, and the courts. To date, 94 retired and retiring lawyers have devoted over 75,000 pro bono hours as part of the Fellows Program.
Appellate Assistance & Representation
In 2013, Mintz’s Sue Finegan co-chaired a Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission committee that eventually developed the Civil Appellate Pro Bono Program. Mintz has worked closely with the Volunteer Lawyers Project to manage a weekly clinic for self-represented litigants at the Massachusetts Appeals Court, staffed by Mintz and other law firms. As of February 2018, over 200 attorneys from 20 different law firms have helped over 400 low-income litigants navigate the civil appellate process.