Dan McFadden


Staff Attorney





Dan McFadden joined the ACLU of Massachusetts as a staff attorney in September 2018. He has extensive experience litigating a broad range of civil rights and civil liberties issues, including in the areas of immigrants’ rights and criminal justice reform.

Prior to joining the ACLU of Massachusetts, Dan worked for nearly seven years as a litigation attorney in private practice. He also served for two years as a law clerk to the Hon. Mark L. Wolf of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. Dan is a graduate of Boston College Law School and Cornell University. He is also a veteran, having served as a Surface Warfare Officer in the U.S. Navy from 2001 to 2006. Dan’s work as an attorney has been recognized by the Political Asylum/Immigration Representation Project (Pro Bono Mentor Award, 2018), the Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (President’s Award, 2013), Super Lawyers Magazine (Rising Star, 2016 & 2017), and Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly (Up & Coming Lawyer, 2019).

 Dan’s representative prior matters include:

  • Represented immigrant detained by ICE for three months due to motor vehicle misdemeanor charge, in partnership with ACLUM. Secured temporary restraining order requiring ICE to permit client to be transported to state court to address the charge. Successfully advocated for ruling that constitutional due process principles require shifting burden of proof in immigration bond proceedings from alien to government, resulting in client’s release. Pensamiento v. McDonald, 315 F. Supp. 3d 684 (D. Mass. 2018).
  • Represented immigrant arrested by ICE while pursuing permanent residency at USCIS interview. Following oral argument on motion for temporary restraining order, secured favorable settlement resulting in release of client pending adjudication of residency application.
  • Member of team representing transgender military service members challenging President Trump’s ban on military service by transgender people, resulting in preliminary injunction preventing implementation of that ban. Doe v. Trump, 275 F. Supp. 3d 167 (D.D.C. 2017).
  • Member of team representing Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council in preparation and submission of briefs amicus curiae in opposition to the President Trump’s Travel Ban, including in the Supreme Court and several courts of appeal. Brief was cited in both dissents to the Supreme Court opinion. Trump v. Hawaii, 138 S. Ct. 2392, 2431, 2446 n.12 (2018) (Breyer, J. and Sotomayor, J., dissenting).
  • Represented veterans organization in successful litigation to unseal filings made in action alleging misconduct in administration of federal life insurance program for military service members, including under common law and First Amendment rights of access.
  • Worked with ACLUM to successfully advocate for ruling that “Dookhan defendants” could not be exposed to harsher punishment as the result of successful challenges to their tainted convictions. Bridgeman v. District Attorney, 471 Mass. 465 (2015).
  • Protected judicial independence as member of team defending judge accused of misconduct by district attorney. Successfully advocated for recognition of a privilege protecting the confidentiality of judicial deliberations, the first new common law privilege recognized in Massachusetts since 1889. In re Enforcement of a Subpoena, 463 Mass. 162 (2012).