Corporate Social Responsibility

Last week, hundreds of lawyers and staff gathered across Proskauer for the 15th Annual Golden Gavel Awards ceremony to honor those who have made significant contributions to the Firm’s pro bono, corporate social responsibility and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion efforts this past year.  The evening began with a special guest.  Preet Bharara, the former United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, shared insights from his time in office, impressed the importance of public service, and addressed several issues he raised in his best-selling book Doing Justice: A Prosecutor’s Thoughts on Crime, Punishment, and The Rule of Law.  Also of note were remarks from Labor & Employment associate Godfre Blackman who is currently serving as the Firm’s NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF) Fellow. As part of the Firm’s Collaborate for Change initiative, Proskauer created this fellowship for one of our associates to work directly with the LDF on strategic matters focusing on eliminating disparities and achieving racial justice and equality.

Our story begins in or about 1875 when both Proskauer and Stillman College were founded. Fast forward almost 150 years when, this past summer, Stillman Professor Gordon Govens reached out to Proskauer. There have been graduates of Stillman, a small historically black college in Alabama, who have gone on to become lawyers but not until now had the school developed a formal prelaw program. Dr. Govens was formerly a practicing lawyer before his academic career and indeed, was an associate at Proskauer in the early 1990s. He thought that there might be a way for the two institutions to work together, and he was right.  

On October 20th, we were so pleased to welcome Match Charter Public High School back to our offices for the first time since the pandemic began, when we met with the 2022-23 class of juniors. Since 2016, our Boston office has partnered with Match Charter Public High School through our Adopt-a-School program, which is the Firm’s signature education initiative, connecting students from public and charter high schools throughout the country to meaningful workshops, discussions and panels designed to increase their college and career readiness. Activities leverage the expertise of our lawyers and business professionals and successfully help students develop new skills, build relationships, and identify new career paths and passions – inspiring our future leaders to realize their full potential. Since launching our Boston program, we have engaged 275 Proskauer volunteers who worked with 125 students across 51 workshops.

Veteran affairs is a key focus area of our corporate social responsibility and pro bono work, and since 2018, Proskauer has been a proud sponsor of American Corporate Partners (ACP). Through ACP, our talented employees mentor veterans and military spouses with career guidance as they transition from the military to civilian life. On Wednesday, May 25th we met virtually with nearly 100 ACP mentees and alumni. Karen Carbone, Proskauer’s Director of Human Resources and Mark Bunbury, our Associate Director of Diversity & Inclusion led an impactful workshop on resume writing and interview preparation. They shared tips for virtual interviews which exploded during the pandemic and are likely here to stay, as well as best practices for resume writing. Combined, Mark and Karen have decades of experience in human resources across the legal and banking industries. The executives from ACP, who organized the webinar with us, include Richard Comitz, Senior Vice President and Matthew Peirce, Operations Associate.

Last week, the Proskauer community came together for the 14th Annual Golden Gavel Awards ceremony, a firm-wide virtual celebration to honor those lawyers and staff members who went far above and beyond to contribute to the Firm’s pro bono, corporate social responsibility, and diversity & inclusion initiatives this year. Congratulations

Lawyers from Proskauer’s Boston office recently met with a group of students from Bottom Line, an organization that helps first-generation-to-college students from low-income backgrounds get to and through college. Bottom Line works with students from their senior year in high school through college to advise and ensure the students are set up to succeed in college and life.

Through the Firm’s CSR education initiatives, we strive to harness the talents and expertise of our employees to create lasting impact with the students we serve. In addition to Bottom Line, we work with a number of different schools through our Adopt-a-School program, where we help high school students explore and better understand college, career opportunities and the soft skills to achieve success in the workplace. For many of our school and non-profit partners, we also offer a wide range of social justice workshops, which help create a connection between careers in law and social justice.

Earlier this month, Proskauer launched a new partnership with The American Red Cross creating a workplace giving platform for our personnel to donate to and support disaster and other critical relief services. This partnership and platform, along with the Firm’s current programs supporting schools and non-profit organizations around the globe through charitable donations, pro bono legal services and volunteerism, provides a multitude of opportunities for our employees to engage with the causes that resonate most with them as individuals. We are proud to support the Red Cross’s extraordinary work, especially considering that those most adversely affected by disasters are often the most vulnerable among us.