The Proskauer corporate social responsibility and pro bono blog

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.

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Fresh Air Fund’s Friendly Towns Program Creates Opportunities

I vividly remember waiting impatiently for my “Fresh Air Fund Sister” to arrive that first summer. It was the summer of 1973. As a young child, it was impossible for me to imagine the girl who would be spending two weeks with us at our home in suburban New Jersey. We were told that she lived in Manhattan, and her name was Judy. She was three years older than I. Would she be taller than I was? Since she was a city girl, I was sure she would be wiser. I recall being more than a bit apprehensive, with butterflies in my stomach. I also couldn’t imagine that she wanted to spend two weeks out of her own magical city. My town was a place where the mundane such as eating ice cream, seeing fireworks for the 4th of July and catching fireflies were the most memorable highlights of my suburban summers.

​It turns out, she wanted that too. During that summer, and many summers after that, she joined my family. Our families kept in touch during the school year, we got to know Judy’s mother, and eventually Judy began spending winter break with us as well. Judy became a member of my family, and the experience of having an older sister from a different background and with a nearly opposite world view was one of the most impactful experiences of my life. It kindled within me a desire to learn about people. It taught me that a generous spirit is a gift to the giver even more than the receiver, and that no matter what our differences are, it is possible to take a deep dive and find a commonality that was hard to imagine could exist.  Continue Reading

Taking a Step Closer to Preventing Gun Violence in Florida

One of the most important issues facing this country today is gun violence and how to prevent it.  Lawyers can play a vital role in advising legislators who want to enact meaningful gun regulations, and by using their skills to try to prevent the adoption of laws designed to block meaningful gun regulations.  Last month, a Proskauer team achieved a victory with nationwide implications by persuading a Florida state trial court to strike down a Florida gun law as unconstitutional.

The Florida law preempted “the whole field of regulation of firearms and ammunition,” meaning municipalities and counties could not pass gun regulations.  Unfortunately, such a preemption provision is not unusual, but in 2011, the Florida legislature took it a step further by adding substantial penalties for violating the preemption.  Under the law, if a municipality enacts a gun law later found preempted, it is subject to a private damages lawsuit with liability up to $100,000, plus uncapped attorneys’ fees, and the legislators who voted for the preempted law are subject to a $5,000 fine and removal from office by the governor. Continue Reading

Federal Court Dismisses Arizona School District’s Appeal to End Desegregation Order

Last week, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit granted a request by Proskauer and our co-counsel, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) to block efforts by the Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) to be released from a court-supervised desegregation plan first imposed on the district in the 1970s.

MALDEF has represented Latino plaintiffs in the desegregation case since it was first filed in 1974. Thereafter, MALDEF’s case was combined with a lawsuit filed on behalf of African American students who similarly claimed that there was a longstanding pattern of racial segregation in TUSD’s school operations and curriculum. In 1978, a court agreed that there was intentional discrimination against Latino and African American students, and ordered the schools to be desegregated under court supervision. Continue Reading

Proskauer “Eats Cheap” for Charity

Earlier this month, Proskauer participated in “Eat Cheap for Charity,” an annual campaign by Citymeals on Wheels (Citymeals) that encourages lawyers throughout New York to spend less on lunch and donate their savings to charity. As a proud participant of the program, Proskauer makes a charitable donation to Citymeals and encourages all lawyers in the New York office to moderate their lunch spending for one week during the summer. The funds donated support Citymeals’s mission to provide nutritious meals and vital companionship to homebound elderly New Yorkers. In addition to raising funds for the organization, Citymeals’ “Eat Cheap” campaign helps highlight an important issue in the fight against hunger – the ever-growing senior population and rising demand on senior-citizen services.   Continue Reading

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