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Peter Gorman, left, and Mary Rice
Peter Gorman, left, and Mary Rice

2020 Attorneys of the Year: Peter Gorman and Mary Rice

Although retired attorneys Peter Gorman and Mary Rice aren’t law partners in the traditional sense — they don’t work together on cases, for example — they do have a shared vision when it comes to volunteer work.

Each contributes significant time and expertise for the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota’s Pro Bono Project, working specifically on cases related to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration policy.

That’s been especially crucial during 2020, after the Center’s volunteer coordinator departed in January that year. Gorman and Rice stepped in and offered to take on the vast majority of DACA renewal cases, and the pair have been working tirelessly throughout the pandemic to ensure that hundreds of Minnesota’s DACA recipients can not only maintain their authorization to work, but also remain in the United States.

“Working with immigrants is so important, because it facilitates their ability to stay here,” said Rice. “DACA recipients are now young adults and they’re contributing to the economy, raising families, and some have been able to join the military to fight for our country. We’ve got to work with them to make their path easier. This country needs them and they deserve to be here.”

In early August, the center hosted its first pro bono training on filing initial DACA applications, an event that hadn’t been done since early 2017. Both Gorman and Rice contributed their insights and attended the training so they could field questions from attendees.

“This work is very rewarding, and very necessary,” said Gorman. “Hardly any of these people would be able to afford their own lawyer, but they need representation. I’m grateful we can do this for them, and I’m happy the Immigrant Law Center is doing this crucial service. DACA work is only one of the many services provided to the immigrant community by the Immigrant Law Center.”

Read more about Minnesota Lawyer’s superb class of Attorneys of the Year for 2020 here.

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