In a major victory for unhoused New Yorkers, the New York Court of Appeals recently adopted the analysis of an amicus brief that was filed by Proskauer on behalf of the Coalition for the Homeless. The amicus brief supported the City of New York’s defense of a proposed project to convert a midtown Manhattan hotel into a residential facility for homeless adults seeking employment opportunities.
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 “work permit,” the new rules endanger the health and safety of asylum seekers and their families.
The first rule change, effective August 21, 2020, eliminates the requirement that USCIS must process employment authorization applications within 30 days of receiving the application. This rule change allows USCIS to adjudicate work permit applications for an indeterminate period of time, which will inevitably result in delays. The government claims this move will deter immigrants from filing “frivolous, fraudulent, or otherwise non-meritorious [asylum] claims.” But the rule change is more likely to force asylum seekers further into poverty and informal economies, thereby making it more difficult for them to meet their basic needs.
Every year around this time, my colleague Erin Meyer and I can be found going through and carefully selecting pro bono opportunities for Proskauer’s incoming first-year associates. Each of them will be assigned a pro bono matter on their first day at Proskauer.
Why have we made this a priority? Assigning these matters sends a powerful message that pro bono work is important and a vital part of life at Proskauer. The new matters encourage our lawyers, from day one, to look beyond the office walls to recognize both the tremendous unmet need for legal services in this country and the incredible difference each of us can make in our communities.
Lawyers who perform pro bono at the beginning of their careers are more likely to do so years later, creating a lasting effect on our new lawyers and strengthening the culture of the firm.
For the same reasons, the firm has made pro bono work a big part of its summer associate experience.
Menstrual equity. This term is likely one that you’ve never heard before. I hadn’t either, until I attended a discussion hosted by Her Justice, a non-profit that recruits caring, talented attorneys from New York City’s law firms, including Proskauer, to provide free legal assistance in the areas of family,…
According to a compelling report issued by the non-profit organization Win, every night in New York City over 23,000 children go to bed in a homeless shelter. It is estimated that one in 10 students in New York City public schools experienced homelessness during the 2016–2017 school year. Even more troubling, the number of homeless families and children is growing.
Founded in 1983 as Women In Need, Win started by serving four homeless women and their six children. Today, led by former New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Win provides daily shelter to more than 2,400 families, including nearly 4,700 children. Win now operates 10 residential shelters, and provides 240 permanent supportive housing units, which are primarily financed by the government but require the resident to pay a small percentage of her income as rent. In response to the severe lack of affordable housing, Mayor DeBlasio launched “Housing New York 2.0,” which promises to create 15,000 supportive housing apartments in NYC over the next 15 years. Win is partnering with various large NYC developers to create these units, and as a Win board member and chair of the real estate committee, I am privileged to be part of these efforts.
On a daily basis we are inundated with news and information from all over the world. My morning paper, evening news, and daily smartphone alerts are primarily focused on the United States’ political climate, natural disasters, violence, and other harrowing stories of people in need. Our newsfeed can seem to create a barrier between us and those we could help. I often feel it seems that those most in need are furthest from our reach. Yet it is important to remember how much work there is to be done right outside our own doors.
Prior to joining the Corporate Social Responsibility team at Proskauer this spring, I spent three years working in fundraising and development at Citymeals on Wheels. While the projects I worked on varied, I always took pride in knowing that my work supported Citymeals’ mission of providing nutritious meals to homebound seniors in need. People are often surprised by the scale of Citymeals’ work. The organization delivers to more than 18,000 elderly New Yorkers, resulting in over 2 million meals every year. And while these numbers are truly staggering, Citymeals’ recipients only account for a small percentage of New Yorkers who face the growing struggles of food insecurity.