The Proskauer corporate social responsibility and pro bono blog

Category Archives: Pro Bono

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Collaborating with Community Organizers for Social Justice: An Interview with Michael Stanley and Ray Lopez

This week we had the privilege of speaking with Michael Stanley, a professional community organizer with Manhattan Together and South Bronx Churches Sponsoring Committee (SBC), and Ray Lopez, the Director of Environmental Health Services of the Little Sisters of the Assumption Family Health Service (LSA), on the topic of pro bono lawyering for social justice … Continue Reading

DHS Rules Effective August 2020 Will Push Asylum Seekers Further into Poverty and Marginalization

In late June 2020, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced two regulatory changes intended to deprive asylum applicants of the ability to work lawfully in the United States while they await the adjudication of their asylum applications.  By increasing the obstacles asylum seekers overcome to obtain an Employment Authorization Document, commonly known as a … Continue Reading

Demanding Withdrawal of Proposed DHS Rule Harmful to LGBTQ and HIV-Affected Asylum Seekers

Pervasive anti-LGBTQ violence around the world causes many individuals to flee their countries of origin in search of safety. The past few years have been tremendously difficult for immigrants of all walks of life, but especially so for LGBTQ and HIV-affected asylum applicants who have fled to the United States to seek refuge from persecution … Continue Reading

Educational Institutions Take on ICE Directive Targeting International Students

On July 13, 2020, Proskauer filed an amicus brief on behalf of 15 educational institutions in support of a preliminary injunction sought by Harvard University and MIT in the District of Massachusetts against enforcement of a new policy directive by the U.S. Immigrations and Custom Enforcement agency (ICE). The ICE directive seeks to make the availability of … Continue Reading

UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention Declares Detention of Sri Lankan Author Violated International Law

Working alongside Freedom Now, a nonprofit organization dedicated to advocacy for prisoners of conscience around the world, Proskauer obtained a victory before the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (the “Working Group”) for our client, Shakthika Sathkumara, an award-winning author who had been detained by Sri Lankan authorities for the publication of a fictional … Continue Reading

Pro Bono Spotlight: Shanice Smith-Banks

Earlier this month, justices of the Louisiana Supreme Court took their places one at a time as the proceedings began, just like they have done over the past 200 years, but this court appearance was a little different.  For the first time in its history, the Court heard arguments over Zoom.  And while many seasoned … Continue Reading

Proskauer Helps Small Businesses Navigate Labor & Employment Law Issues through COVID-19 Crisis

Through Proskauer’s partnership with the City Bar Justice Center and Lawyers for Good Government, we helped launch the nationwide COVID-19 Small Business Remote Legal Clinic to consult with small businesses across a range of pressing issues: contracts & force majeure, leases, insurance, and, of course, the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program. One of the … Continue Reading

Proskauer Pro Bono Assists “The Call to Unite,” a 24-Hour Livestreaming Event to Support Those in Need During the COVID-19 Crisis

Proskauer is proud to represent Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors d/b/a UNITE, a non-profit collaborative started by Special Olympics Chairman Tim Shriver, as pro bono counsel in connection with the planning and production of “The Call to Unite,” a 24-hour livestreaming event beginning on Friday, May 1 at 8 p.m. EDT. Mr. Shriver is leading the event, … Continue Reading

Expanding Public Service in the COVID-19 Crisis

To consider the great need, among people of limited means, for civil legal services during the COVID-19 crisis, a good starting point is where we were before the crisis started.  In short, civil legal resources for the poor in the United States are woefully inadequate.  According to the Legal Services Corporation, which documents the justice gap in … Continue Reading

Leveling the Legal Playing Field for Poor Families in Family Court

The New York Statewide Central Register (SCR) of Abuse and Maltreatment maintains records of calls, allegations, and results of investigations regarding suspected child abuse and maltreatment. Although these records are not public, many employers and agencies are legally obligated to check the database before hiring applicants and accepting volunteers. Having an “indicated” report on file … Continue Reading

Advancing Empathetic Portrayals of Mental Health Issues in the Media: An Interview with Helene Ellison of the Media Empathy Foundation

What is “media empathy” and what is the mission of the Media Empathy (ME) Foundation? To us, “media empathy” means portraying people with mental illness in a compassionate way that recognizes their humanity and their struggles and makes them relatable, rather than vilifying them or treating them comically. This empathy is often missing in the … Continue Reading

Grannies Respond: Grassroots Activism for Immigrant Justice

This week we had the privilege of speaking with Catherine Cole, the Executive Director of Grannies Respond, about the impact the “Grannies” have made through their efforts to advance immigrants’ rights, and how Proskauer’s pro bono work has supported the Grannies in their mission. Grannies Respond / Abuelas Responden, Inc. is a grassroots movement and … Continue Reading

Proskauer Honors Public Service at the Annual Golden Gavel Awards

Proskauer honored its lawyers and staff who have made significant contributions to the Firm’s pro bono and corporate social responsibility programs this year at its 12th Annual Golden Gavel Awards ceremony on January 22. The following is a list of recipients alphabetically by project. Protecting Immigrant Youth Watch now Team New Orleans: Catholic Charities-Archdiocese of … Continue Reading

NY Appellate Division Decision Provides Equity for Guardians of Limited Means

Last week, Proskauer obtained a critical victory for our client—a grandmother acting as guardian for her two learning-disabled grandchildren—in an appeal to the Appellate Division, First Department.  The appeal challenged a lower court holding that an amendment to New York’s Kinship Guardianship Assistance Program (“KinGAP”) did not apply retroactively to beneficiaries, such as our client’s … Continue Reading

Justice in the Internet Age: Legal Access for Rural Americans

Thanks to advances in technology, the fight for equal access to justice has the potential of making enormous strides. A great example is the project Proskauer helped spearhead with the nonprofit Legal Information for Families Today (LIFT), which is now connecting pro se litigants in family court throughout New York State with pro bono services … Continue Reading

Pro Bono for Immigrant Families: Shutting off Asylum at the Southern Border

When I volunteered in Mexico last spring with two Proskauer colleagues alongside the Institute for Women in Migration (IMUMI), I witnessed a growing humanitarian crisis. The U.S. “Remain in Mexico” Policy – officially called the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) – requires asylum seekers at the southern border to wait in Mexico for the duration of … Continue Reading

A Promise to My Father: Helping One Veteran at a Time

My father, Colonel John J. Cassidy is a highly decorated Vietnam veteran. Last Wednesday, I celebrated his birthday and honored his service by volunteering at the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Veterans Legal Services Project clinic. It was a coincidence that Proskauer’s sponsorship of the clinic fell on my dad’s birthday, but the connection between … Continue Reading

Criminal Justice Reform in America: Shifting Attitudes on Incarceration

Last month, the U.S. state with the highest rate of incarceration (in the country with the largest prison population) took steps to reduce its incarceration of non-violent offenders. Oklahoma’s Governor Kevin Stitt (Republican) commuted the sentences of over 500 inmates. All of these individuals were non-violent offenders with an average age of less than 40. … Continue Reading

Transforming Lives Through Her Justice

I recently joined the board of Her Justice, a nonprofit legal services organization in New York City and longtime partner of Proskauer that provides assistance to women and their families living in poverty who have high-stakes legal needs. I was introduced to the organization by a friend and former colleague, and over the past few … Continue Reading

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, … 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 … 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 … 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 … Continue Reading
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