HARRISBURG (Nov. 30, 2022) — Philadelphia lawyer Arthur N. Read, general counsel for Justice at Work, a legal services organization representing low-wage workers in immigrant communities in Pennsylvania, was honored with the annual Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA) Immigration Law Pro Bono Award during a virtual awards ceremony held by the PBA Immigration Law Committee on Nov. 28.
The PBA Immigration Law Pro Bono Award, which is sponsored by the business immigration law firm of Green and Spiegel LLC and coordinated by the PBA Immigration Law Committee, was created to annually recognize the pro bono accomplishments of an individual or organization working with the PBA in the area of immigration law. The award is given to those that have provided a unique service resulting in a significant provision of legal services to the neediest of foreign nationals on a pro bono basis or as part of legal aid outreach. The winners are selected in consultation with PBA leadership.
Read is being recognized for his decades of advocating for workers’ rights, including employment and labor law representation of farm workers, low-wage immigrant workers, and rank and file workers within unionized and nonunionized settings. His efforts helped implement federal protections for workers in Pennsylvania and New Jersey under the federal Farm Labor Contractor Registration Act. In Pennsylvania, his work has impacted the mushroom, tree fruit and tomato industries, and seasonal “day-haul” workers in the Philadelphia area.
At the local and national levels, Read has litigated and advocated for temporary and foreign workers. This has included litigation against the U.S. Department of Labor under the Administrative Procedure Act to force implementation of procedures to protect workers’ rights under the H-2B temporary nonagricultural worker program.
A member of the PBA House of Delegates since 2006, Read has been an active member in the PBA Immigration Law Committee since 2011. He has also served as past co-chair of the PBA Civil and Equal Rights Committee and member of the Agricultural Law Committee, Federal Practice Committee, Judicial Administration Committee, Legal Services to the Public Committee, Minority Bar Committee and Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee.
In 2019, Read received the inaugural Civil and Equal Rights Champion Award from the PBA Civil and Equal Rights Committee for his lifetime devotion to advocating for workers’ rights, changing the world for farmworkers, limited English speakers and the poor.
In 2008, Read received a PBA President’s Award for his numerous worker protections in immigration reform efforts. He also received a Special Achievement Award in 2007 for development of a PBA Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee formal opinion about non-lawyers who engage in the unauthorized practice of immigration law. In addition, Read belongs to the Philadelphia Bar Association and the National Lawyers Guild, where he has served on its Labor and Employment Committee for more than 40 years.
“Art is one of the most creative, passionate and dedicated immigration lawyers I have ever met,” said Jonathan Grode, a partner at Green and Spiegel. “His ability to protect those who have been disadvantage and taken advantage of is unparalleled. Art is an advocate in the fullest sense of the word, and I am so pleased that he is the recipient of the PBA Immigration Law Pro Bono Award.”
In honor of Read’s award, Green and Spiegel LLC has donated to the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation, the charitable affiliate of the PBA, to benefit the PBA Pro Bono Office.
A practicing attorney for nearly 45 years, Read worked at a labor and civil rights law firm in New York City before joining the Farmworkers Division of Camden Regional Legal Services in New Jersey in 1979. He began working for that program’s Pennsylvania Farmworker Project in 1981 and assumed the position of general counsel of what was then called Friends of Farmworkers in 1982.
Read received a J.D. from New York University School of Law, and a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania.