John de León

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John de Leon
John-de-Leon.jpg
Born February 14, 1962
Miami, FL
Nationality American
Alma mater University of Miami (A.B.)
Georgetown University Law Center (J.D.)
Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs (M.I.A.)
Occupation Civil-rights attorney

John de Leon (born February 14, 1962, Miami, Florida) is a Cuban-American attorney known for his work on immigration and civil rights issues. His cases have been the subject of reports in The New York Times[1] and ABC News[2] and he is a frequent guest on Spanish-language news and opinion programs[3][4] and local media [5] discussing immigration and other human-rights topics. He has also appeared as a legal commentator on CNN.[6]

De Leon is managing partner of the Miami law offices of Chavez & de Leon, P.A, which he co-founded with Fernando Chavez, son of the labor rights activist Cesar Chavez, in 2003. De Leon is cited as a top 100 trial lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers (NTL) organization.[7]

Called a “Civic-Minded Lawyer [Who] Fights for the Rights of Immigrants”[8] by Hispanic Executive magazine, de Leon was once named “Best Promoter of Social Diversity”[9] by Miami New Times and one of “Forty to Watch in the New Century” by The Miami Herald.[10] He often lectures [11] on the subject of immigration, and has authored several op-ed pieces on the theme of civil liberties.[12][13]

He is also a past recipient of the Stanley Milledge Award for lifetime achievements from the Greater Miami chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), of which he was twice president.[14] Of de Leon's first tenure as head of that organization, writer Jacob Bernstein noted in a 2001 article in The Miami New Times that, "His tireless advocacy raised both the profile of his organization, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the importance of the Bill of Rights to heretofore unknown levels of recognition in South Florida."[15] In an article that appeared around the same time in The Miami Herald, Meg Laughlin wrote, "What de Leon is credited with doing in Miami is bringing a very divided community together under the umbrella of individual rights for everyone - whether to the political right or left."[16]

The youngest child of exiled Cuban parents who came to the U.S. in 1959, de Leon began his law career with the Miami-Dade Public Defender's Office, where he tried cases as an assistant public defender from 1987-2001. Prior to forming Chavez & de Leon, he worked in Bogotá, Colombia as an administration-of-justice specialist on a USAID-funded project that assisted the Colombian government on issues relating to criminal defense and trial concerns.

He attended Archbishop Curley, which later became Archbishop Curley-Notre Dame High School, in Miami, and received a cum laude A.B. degree from the University of Miami in 1983, his J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center in 1986, as well as a Master's in International Affairs from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs in 1992.

De Leon is a board member of the ACLU of Greater Miami and Americans for Immigrant Justice (formerly the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center). He also serves on the executive committee of the National Latino Trial Lawyers Association (NLTLA) and the Community Advisory Board for Florida International University College of Law.

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