On April 10, WilmerHale was recognized by the Immigrant Defense Project (IDP) for its work in the area of immigrant rights. The firm and other honorees were recognized at the IDP's 20th Anniversary Gala in New York City.
WilmerHale has a longstanding relationship with the IDP, having taken on significant pro bono cases in partnership with the organization. These include Judulang v. Holder, in which the US Supreme Court, by a 9-0 vote, struck down a government policy as arbitrary and capricious and reopened the possibility of relief from removal for the firm's client and others, and Mathis v. United States, in which the Court reversed a lower court ruling that had improperly relaxed the standards for enhancing federal sentences under the Armed Career Criminal Act and for holding noncitizens removable on the basis of criminal convictions.
“IDP and WilmerHale have worked together on numerous cases in the Second Circuit, the Ninth Circuit, the Supreme Court and elsewhere,” said Partner Mark Fleming—who argued and won Judulang and Mathis in the Supreme Court—in his remarks at the event. “Every time, without fail…the whole IDP team shares their creativity, knowledge, rigor and good humor, and makes us all better advocates.”
In addition to Fleming, Partners David Bassett, Tiffany Smith and Omar Khan; Counsel Adriel Cepeda Derieux and Fiona Kaye; Senior Associates Channing Turner, Will Kinder, Ilya Feldsherov and Jenny Pelaez; and Associates Jane Shim and Eric Hawkins were in attendance, and the firm is continuing its work on behalf of IDP with a case led by Counsel Ari Holtzblatt and an amicus brief by Fleming and Hawkins.
“I have always found it strangely cruel that we reserve our most complex, counterintuitive and incomprehensible field of law for newcomers to our country who often don't speak our language, don't understand our traditions, and are least able to seek our help,” Fleming continued. “The work…at IDP, supported by all of you in this room and many others across the nation, is more important than ever.”
(Mark Fleming accepts the Champion of Justice Award on behalf of the firm.)
(From left: IDP Senior Counsel Manny Vargas, WilmerHale Partner Mark Fleming and IDP Executive Director Alisa Wellek.)
(From left: IDP Advisory Board Member Peter Markowitz, New York City Council Member Carlos Menchaca, IDP Advisory Board Member Marianne Yang, IDP Executive Director Alisa Wellek and WilmerHale Partner Mark Fleming.)