Mary Meg McCarthy

Mary Meg McCarthy is the Executive Director of the National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC), one of the nation’s preeminent immigrant and human rights advocacy organizations. Under Mary Meg’s leadership, NIJC has developed a unique approach: integrating advocacy, impact litigation, legal counsel and public education, to make NIJC an effective advocate resource for lawyers, legislators and lay leaders. NIJC’s contributions to national and international analysis, debate regarding reform of immigration law, policy, and practices is well-known throughout the advocacy world and beyond. Under her leadership, Mary Meg’s has grown NIJC from a $1M to a $12.4M organization with nearly 125 attorneys, paralegals and professionals with five offices in three states and Washington, DC. Mary Meg’s has built a network of 2,200 pro bono attorneys, who are essential to providing legal counsel to thousands of low-income immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers each year.

A nationally and internationally recognized immigration law expert, Mary Meg’s has testified before Congress and at the United Nations, and is frequently quoted in major news outlets, including MSNBC, The New York Times, and the Chicago Tribune. An active member of the American Bar Association, Mary Meg’s chaired its Commission on Immigration. She is a member of The Chicago Network, the American Immigration Lawyers Association, and the Chicago Bar Association.

Mary Meg’s has presented at the Strategic Litigation for Change Conference in Belfast and, in 2017, delivered the commencement address at Loyola University of Chicago School of Law. She currently serves as a trustee for the Catholic Theological Union, Chicago, IL.

Earlier in her career, Mary Meg’s worked in communities throughout Chile as a Holy Cross Associate to help safeguard the rights of individuals under a dictatorship. She received her bachelor of business administration in finance from the University of Notre Dame and her doctor of law from Loyola University Chicago School of Law. She has been honored with several awards, including: the American Constitution Society Chicago Lawyer Chapter Ruth Goldman Award, the Elmer Gertz Award for Human Rights from the Illinois State Bar Association, the Chicago Inn of Court 2015 Don Hubert Public Service Award, the Pax Christi 2013 Teacher of Peace Award, and the Damen Award from Loyola University, an honorary law degree from Knox College (Galesburg, IL), and the Notre Dame Alumni Association’s Thomas A. Dooley Award (2020).