Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly recognized Goodwin Litigation partner David Zimmer for Pro Bono Excellence as part of the 2019 Excellence in the Law Awards. The annual honors celebrate attorneys and firms that use their expertise and resources to take on cases for the less fortunate and those in need of legal services.
Since joining Goodwin’s Boston office, David has been an integral member of the firm’s Pro Bono Initiative. In 2018, David represented longtime Martha’s Vineyard resident Wescley Pereira before the Supreme Court. Pereira was facing a final order of removal, which, if upheld, would have led to his separation from his wife and two young daughters. The case drew national headlines not only for the potential impact on immigration law and policy, but also because Zimmer, then a 35-year-old associate, was one of only two associates that Term arguing before the Supreme Court.
In June, the Justices returned an 8-1 verdict in favor of Pereira. This decision reversed the decisions of the First Circuit and five other Courts of Appeals, establishing that the government’s service of a “notice to appear” that does not tell a noncitizen when and where to appear fails to trigger the “stop-time rule,” and hence cannot prevent the noncitizen from accruing the additional U.S. residence time needed to be eligible for cancellation of removal. The Supreme Court’s decision provided Pereira and countless others the opportunity to apply for cancellation of removal and remain in the country.
In addition to his Supreme Court advocacy, Zimmer has successfully argued immigration cases on behalf of pro bono clients in the Second and Ninth Circuits. He has spent countless hours volunteering on behalf of organizations such as the Immigrant Defense Project, the ACLU, and the New York Legal Aid Society. He also previously served on the Board of Directors for La Raza Centro Legal, a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting immigrants’ rights.