The Proskauer corporate social responsibility and pro bono blog

Working Towards a Better Future for Veterans With Bloomberg

The Veterans Assistance Project at the City Bar Justice Center (the pro bono arm of the New York City Bar Association) connects lawyers with veterans living on or below the poverty line. It helps veterans with their disability claims and appeals to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA).  Proskauer organized a small group of volunteers in October 2015 to attend an intake clinic at the City Bar, working in pairs to represent a veteran in need. Our effort has since evolved to include more than 90 from both Proskauer and our project partner Bloomberg LP.

In recognition of our contribution, Proskauer and Bloomberg LP were honored with a City Bar Justice Award at the City Bar Justice Center’s Annual Gala in April 2017. We were noted for our leadership and dedication to pro bono and public service, and for joining forces in an effort to help veterans obtain disability benefits from the VA. Proskauer is proud to have dedicated more than 1,500 pro bono hours to these cases.

Kevin Hackett, a corporate partner and veteran himself, spearheaded this volunteer effort. He had the following to say about this project and its great impact.

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Even Strength Shines Light on Employability of Persons With Down Syndrome

Even Strength is an internship program designed to give young adults with Down syndrome the opportunity to work on the game operations staffs of professional sports teams.  Even Strength started as an idea that Jeremy Morin, my brother and professional hockey player, and I had five years ago.  Our uncle, Jeff Morin, is a middle-aged man with Down syndrome.  Throughout our lives and our hockey careers, Uncle Jeff has served as team manager, assistant coach, penalty-box attendant, sports psychologist, and most importantly – as a constant reminder of how individuals with intellectual disabilities both deserve meaningful roles in all of our lives and excel when given the opportunity to fulfill them.

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Confidence Through Competition: High Schoolers Excel in Moot Court

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The night before their moot court competition, the students of Francis Lewis High School were nervous. For nearly two months, twenty students practiced twice weekly, two hours at a time, in front of a rotating group of eight Proskauer attorney coaches. The students read numerous Supreme Court cases and incorporated those cases into an oral argument on behalf of fictional clients. The pretend fact pattern the students were given concerned the constitutionality of a stop-and-frisk of a young woman in a high crime area.  The students’ progress over the two months was palpable. At the beginning, the students spoke for a fraction of the time that they were allotted, their arguments lacked persuasiveness and organization as they spoke reluctantly, with awkward pauses and giggles you might expect from nervous teenagers.  But session after session, those issues vanished.

The students mastered the make-believe fact pattern which at first seemed so complicated.  The formalities of arguing before a panel of judges – which at first seemed daunting – were now innate. And the attorney coaches had become their close mentors and friends.  But the night of the competition, eating cookies around a Proskauer conference room with their coaches, the nerves were back in full force. “What if we can’t remember a case? What if we go blank? What if we embarrass ourselves? What if we lose?”

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