The most famous immigration lawyer in the Maritimes will receive his honorary Doctor of Divinity May 3.

Lee Cohen, who grew up in Saint John, will receive an honorary doctorate next month from the Atlantic School of Theology in Halifax. 

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Halifax immigration lawyer Lee Cohen will receive his honorary Doctor of Divinity on May 3. (CBC)

Shelley Cohen describes her brother as a humanist and a workaholic, committed to social justice.

"We don't know probably three-quarters of the cases that Lee looks after," said Cohen. "He's had a couple of very sad situations where people have taken their lives. The waiting period and the uncertainty of it. Some things are worse than death."

But some cases have been memorable. The Hurtados of Chile swore in as Canadian citizens in 2005 after more than a year of living as refugees in the basement of a St. Stephen Church.

"He epitomizes what we believe our honorary doctorate is about." says Rev. Canon Jody Clarke, academic dean of the Atlantic School of Theology.

She says much of his work has been pro bono.

"So for people, particularly immigrants who want to come to Canada and have a fair shot of existing in our society, he's been their champion."