The Proskauer corporate social responsibility and pro bono blog

For Lawyers Representing Trafficking Survivors: Best Practices in Cooperating with Law Enforcement

Proskauer was privileged to host a panel presentation this month on the topic of representing victim witnesses in cooperating with law enforcement investigations and prosecutions of human traffickers. The panel featured Jane Kim, Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York; Jessica-Wind Abolafia, Director of Sanctuary for Families’ Anti-Trafficking Initiative; Lori Cohen, incoming Executive Director of ECPAT-USA; and Bill Silverman, Proskauer’s Pro Bono Partner and former Assistant United States Attorney.

The panelists shared a number of insights from their various perspectives as attorneys within law enforcement, a nonprofit legal service provider, and a law firm’s pro bono program.  Several best practice tips emerged that will enable pro bono lawyers representing survivors of human trafficking to provide competent and trauma-informed legal assistance to their clients: Continue Reading

Combating Human Trafficking: How the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Leads the Way

The human trafficking industry preys on vulnerable young women throughout the world who seek to escape poverty, violence, and oppression. These women are often lured by sex traffickers through false promises of a better life, only to find themselves trapped in a cycle of abuse. The trafficking industry earns profits of approximately $150 billion a year, nearly $100 billion of which comes from commercial sexual exploitation. Sex trafficking victims do not profit, but they are often, in many jurisdictions, the ones being prosecuted.

Last week, Proskauer, along with the New York State Anti-Trafficking Coalition, hosted Valiant (Val) Richey, the Special Representative and Coordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). The Office of the Special Representative assists the 57 OSCE countries—including the United States—in their efforts to combat human trafficking. Continue Reading

Defending Visually-Impaired Pedestrians in Chicago with Disability Rights Advocates

Earlier this week, Proskauer—along with Disability Rights Advocates (DRA), a nationwide nonprofit disability rights legal center—filed a putative class action against the City of Chicago on behalf of the American Council of the Blind of Metropolitan Chicago (ACBMC) and three individual plaintiffs with vision-related disabilities. The suit challenges the City’s systemic failure to provide accessible crosswalk signals for people who have significant vision impairments—a failure which violates both Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the federal Rehabilitation Act.

The complaint alleges that only 11 out of Chicago’s 2,670 intersections have accessible pedestrian signals (APS) which provide information to the visually-impaired. As a result, pedestrians with vision-related disabilities can safely cross fewer than half of one percent of Chicago’s intersections. In addition to placing visually-impaired Chicagoans in ongoing physical danger, the City’s failure to address these inadequacies represents continuing violations of federal law which requires, among other things, that public entities operate “each service, program, or activity” so that they are “readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities.” 28 C.F.R. § 35.150. Continue Reading

Proskauer Files Amici Brief in Six Federal Court Litigations Supporting Coalition Led by Justice in Aging

Proskauer serves as outside counsel to a coalition of nine nonprofit organizations—led by Justice in Aging—supporting dozens of states and organizations in their efforts to stay the implementation of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s final rule establishing a new test for determining whether an immigrant will be a “public charge,” and thus should be denied entry into the United States. In filing this amici brief, Proskauer aims to help Justice in Aging and the coalition in their efforts to protect elderly immigrants.

We filed an amici brief in six federal court litigations:  three pending in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, two pending in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, and one pending in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington.  The plaintiffs in each of these cases assert a variety of claims, including that the Final Rule violates the Administrative Procedure Act because it is contrary to the statutory scheme and is arbitrary and capricious, violates the Equal Protection Clause, and violates the Rehabilitation Act. Continue Reading

Pro Bono for Immigrant Families: Protecting Access to Counsel

Last week, Proskauer — along with co-counsel Democracy Forward, and the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. — filed a complaint on behalf of seven asylum seekers, their minor children and the legal services organization RAICES in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, claiming that several current immigration directives impede access to counsel for asylum seekers fleeing persecution.

A credible fear interview is the first critical step for immigrants claiming asylum who have been placed in expedited removal proceedings.  Accordingly, an asylum seeker’s case for refuge in the United States turns on the effective presentation of their asylum claim at this important interview.

The asylum directives challenged in this lawsuit impact procedures designed to ensure that asylum seekers understand their rights and have the opportunity to adequately consult with counsel prior to their credible fear interview.  Specifically, the directives: Continue Reading

Biking for a Cause to Buckingham Palace

Our London office has teamed up with The Soup Kitchen for several years, helping to offer a welcoming and safe place for over 100 people a day, six days per week. With the goal of going beyond supplying food, clothing and a sense of belonging, The Soup Kitchen strives to address issues of homelessness and support people with the resources they need to find their way back to a structured and fulfilling life.

Jacob Durkin at the Prudential RideLondon.

When The Soup Kitchen contacted Proskauer looking for a volunteer to step up and take a coveted spot in this year’s Prudential Ride100, corporate associate Jacob Durkin came forward. “This was either brave or foolish, depending on your perspective,” recalled Jacob. “The event was awesome and definitely something I would love to do again – although I probably would have provided a different answer when I was struggling through the last few miles!” The Ride100 is the biggest mass cycling event in the world on 100 miles of closed roads around London, finishing outside Buckingham Palace.

Continue Reading

LexBlog