San Diego – October 9, 2015 – The State Bar of California honored a Cooley team at its 88th annual meeting in Anaheim, California with the President's Pro Bono Service award for its work with the ACLU on the class action lawsuit Lopez-Venegas v. Johnson. The award is presented in recognition of California attorneys and law firms that have provided or enabled the direct provision of legal services to low-income clients.
In 2013, Cooley partnered with the ACLU to represent a class of immigrants challenging the constitutionality of deceptive and coercive immigration policies and practices by the US Immigration authorities and enforcement officers. The landmark settlement with the US government, which was approved in March 2015, allowed for many noncitizens who signed "voluntary" return forms in Southern California and were expelled to Mexico as a result, to be given the opportunity to apply to return to the United States to seek legal status.
"It is truly an honor to be recognized for our work on this historic settlement," said Maureen Alger, Cooley's pro bono partner. "This settlement allows for the reunification of affected individuals with their families and the improvement of critical border control policies and practices – and we are heartened to have been involved."
The lawsuit was filed by the ACLU Foundation of San Diego & Imperial Counties, the ACLU of Southern California, the ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project, and Cooley on behalf of individual plaintiffs and the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, the Pomona Economic Opportunity Center, and the San Bernardino Community Service Center.
The Cooley pro bono team included partner Tony Stiegler and associates Darcie Tilly, Craig TenBroeck and Neal Gibeault.
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