Faegre Drinker associate Brian Morgan was named a 2020 Pro Bono Attorney of the Year by the Newark office of Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), a nonprofit organization providing legal representation to children in immigration court and advocating for laws and policies ensuring safety and due process for migrating children. Morgan was recognized for his outstanding work helping three siblings from El Salvador achieve legal status in the U.S.
Since 2014, Morgan has represented the siblings, who fled gang violence in El Salvador and arrived in the U.S. as unaccompanied minors. He first obtained an order from the New Jersey Family Division awarding the siblings’ mother sole custody over them and, after a successful appeal, an amended order containing the predicate factual findings for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS), an avenue to legal status in the United States.
When U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) denied one of the siblings SIJS based on a misapplication of New Jersey state law, Brian appealed the government’s decision to the Administrative Appeals Office and also arranged for his client to be one of the named plaintiffs in a class action against USCIS and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The parallel proceedings approach worked, as the Administrative Appeals Office reversed USCIS’s decision and, shortly thereafter, Judge Madeline Cox Arleo of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey ordered USCIS and DHS to stop denying SIJS to a class of eligible young immigrants, including Morgan’s client. With that ruling, all of the siblings were finally granted SIJS. Morgan’s continues to represent them while their permanent resident applications are pending.
In addition to maintaining a robust pro bono practice, Morgan serves clients as part of the firm’s finance and restructuring group, representing companies in commercial disputes in both state and federal courts across the country, with an emphasis on financial litigation, claims against professional service firms, commercial landlord/tenant actions, and suits involving complex accounting and damages issues.
Morgan earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Rochester and his Juris Doctor from Fordham University School of Law. While in law school, he interned for the Honorable David B. Vaughan, justice of the Supreme Court of New York, Kings County. He joined the firm in 2009 following a clerkship with the Honorable W. Hunt Dumont, then presiding judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey, Morris County.