The immigration law firm of Curran, Berger & Kludt in Northampton announces that Attorney Megan Kludt has been promoted to Managing Partner. Megan has been at the firm for 10 years, becoming a name partner in 2018, and now leading an all-women management team with newly-promoted Office Manager Beth Savage-Marchese and Front Office Manager Alexandra Mateo.
Megan has won an American Immigration Lawyers Association pro bono award for her work coordinating legal representation at the Mexican border and in immigration detention centers. Most recently, she coordinated the Remote Immigrant Assistance Project, a local group of volunteers working to secure the release of asylum-seeking families from detention at the border. She collaborated closely with Western New England School of Law and ACLU’s Immigration Protection Project of Western MA. In the summer of 2018, she also worked with the Immigrant Protection Project and helped win the release of a group of transgender immigrant women in ICE custody. In her practice she represents a wide variety of individuals, companies and colleges, and has been a tireless advocate for immigrants in our community.
She has used her experience at the border to support other creative solutions to the tremendous shortage of immigration services. She is a mentor to the relatively new Student Clinic for Immigrant Justice, an innovative project to train college students to work on asylum cases, and along with her colleague Attorney Aleksandra Peryeva, has been supporting the Community Asylum Seekers Project, a non-profit in southern Vermont that supports those waiting in the United States for their asylum hearings. And she worked with several of her paralegals to edit the American Immigration Lawyers’ Association’s guide for immigration paralegals, published in 2020.
The firm began in 1984 with Attorney Joseph Curran ’setting out his shingle’ in Springfield. He has led as Managing Partner from then through 2020, guiding the firm to where it is today. Joe has had a long career representing hospitals, colleges and major corporations working to hire international workers, and many individuals. Joe argued a precedent-setting case before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court that held that criminal defendants must be advised about immigration consequences before making a plea. Joe also edited ILW’s Nurse Immigration Book, and has been an active member of the International Medical Graduate Taskforce in lobbying Congress for visas for healthcare workers in medically underserved areas.
2020 was a challenging year for immigrants, and for CBK. The Trump Administration’s policies, coupled with the pandemic, made it particularly difficult for the firm to provide clear guidance. Clients were understandably anxious, and like many businesses we had to pivot quickly last spring to working mostly remotely, while still dealing with U.S. government agencies that still operate on paper and hold interviews in person. We hope that 2021 will be calmer and steadier, and that immigrants in our community and around the country feel welcomed and reassured.
In response to the challenges immigrants faced in 2020, CBK has been providing monthly Q&A sessions to thedream.us (scholarship program for about 6500 undocumented and DACA students), the International Language Institute Free English Program in Northampton, and the College Match mentoring program in California, which has sent many low income students to colleges in the Pioneer Valley.
We are also very proud to have been thanked for support by the author of Undocumented Americans, the first book by an undocumented author to be a finalist for a National Book Award. Finally, Attorney Dan Berger has met with the Biden/Harris immigration transition teams as part of the Legal Advisory Council of the Presidents’ Alliance (group of 500+ college and university presidents), to promote innovation on immigration issues
Looking forward at the firm, Dan and Case Manager Emily Hindle were tapped by the Brookings Institution to review policy recommendations for employment-based immigration and international students, and make recommendations on what the Biden/Harris administration should do. Dan has been working with the DOS and DHS “agency review team” for the Biden/Harris administration to advise on key issues for international education.
He is also part of the 545 project working group with Physicians for Human Rights and the Society for Child and Adolescent Medicine to find and support the 545 children separated from their parents at the border, and use DNA technology to identify parents who were deported. This is part of the firm’s involvement in an NIH grant on the legal, ethical and privacy issues of using DNA technology in immigration matters.
And CBK’s attorneys and paralegals are editing new versions of the American Immigration Lawyers’ Associations’ Immigration Options for Academics and Researchers, and the International Adoption and Children’s Immigration Issues Sourcebook, set for release later this year.
CBK wishes Megan all the best as she guides the firm forward as Managing Partner.