Photo of Michelle Moriarty

Michelle Moriarty is the firm’s Pro Bono Counsel. She and the rest of the Pro Bono team are responsible for leading and managing Proskauer’s global pro bono efforts. Proskauer’s pro bono program provides assistance to individual clients and nonprofit organizations in litigation and transactional matters. The firm’s pro bono work spans a wide variety of issues, including racial justice, reproductive rights, voting rights, disability rights, gun safety, poverty, housing, immigration, domestic violence and human trafficking, and gender equality, among many others.

Michelle has maintained a strong focus on public interest and pro bono work throughout her legal career. Prior to joining Proskauer, Michelle was a Senior Staff Attorney at the Center for Reproductive Rights, where she litigated federal and state challenges to laws restricting access to abortion. She also worked as the General Counsel and Policy Lead at RubiconMD, Inc., a healthcare technology company committed to democratizing medical expertise.

Michelle clerked for Judge Michael A. Chagares of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and Judge Mark L. Wolf of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.

Michelle is a Lecturer in Law at Columbia Law School, where she teaches legal writing.

In the months since Proskauer hosted its immigration panel discussion in partnership with Sanctuary for Families this past January, the influx of migrants across the U.S. southern border has continued. So has the dire need for pro bono legal services for these new arrivals along with it. Recent U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Data indicates that the U.S. Border Patrol had almost 140,000 encounters with migrants crossing into the U.S. from Mexico in March 2024, down from a record high of nearly 250,000 in December 2023. According to the Wilson Center, 2023 marked the first year that more than half of the people reaching the border originated beyond Mexico and the Northern Triangle countries of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. From our own recent experience, we have seen this trend continue.

Proskauer and co-counsel Center for Reproductive Rights (“the Center”) submitted an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in United States v. Rahimi. The brief, filed on behalf of the Center in support of the United States, urged the Supreme Court to reverse the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal’s decision finding 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(8), a federal law prohibiting people subject to domestic violence restraining orders from possessing firearms, unconstitutional. Oral argument took place on November 7, 2023.

On April 4, 2023, Proskauer submitted an amicus brief in the California Supreme Court in In re NR, a case in which a child was removed from his father’s custody based on a finding of “substance abuse.” The lower court found that the father had a “substance abuse” problem — based solely on its subjective judgments about substance use, rather than applying any objective, evidence-based standard — and separated the father and child on that basis. This case highlights the danger of allowing courts to diagnose parents with “substance abuse” problems based on their own subjective and standardless opinions. Unfounded assumptions, judgments, and stigma against substance use and substance use disorders can cause significant harm, particularly when they are used as a basis to deprive parents of their fundamental rights and separate families.