Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

To signal the official launch of Proskauer’s 2024 Election Protection efforts, Proskauer hosted a panel presentation on voting rights.

With a presidential election coming up this fall, protecting the right to vote has never been more important. Proskauer’s panel event highlighted numerous present threats to American democracy, including voter suppression

For the 8th election cycle in a row, Proskauer hosted an Election Protection call center on November 7th and 8th in partnership with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which spearheads a national, nonpartisan effort that provides comprehensive information and assistance to ensure that all voters have an equal opportunity to vote. This year, Proskauer answered calls from Ohio.  Our volunteers answered questions about a wide variety of issues such as polling locations and voter identification requirements, while also compiling reports of long lines, voter intimidation and electioneering activities in and around polling sites and relaying that information to the on-the-ground Lawyers’ Committee team stationed throughout Ohio.

Election Protection is a nationwide nonpartisan coalition, spearheaded by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, working to ensure that every voter is able to exercise their right to vote. In conversation with Damon Hewitt, Executive Vice President, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Proskauer pro bono partner Bill Silverman says, “Supporting impactful and important programs like Election Protection helps people who might otherwise be disenfranchised have their voices heard, and their votes counted.” Watch the video below where we had the chance to connect with Bill and Damon on this unprecedented election and our joined efforts to amplify voices and voters this season:

As documented in numerous studies, the brunt of COVID-19’s impact has fallen most heavily on racial and ethnic minorities who have suffered higher hospitalization and mortality rates as well as unprecedented levels of unemployment as a consequence of the virus and government efforts to contain it. As a result, many low-income tenants—Black and Latinx, disproportionately—are having difficulty paying their rent.

In New Jersey, hundreds of thousands of residents, including a disproportionate number of minorities, face this grim reality and may soon become at risk of eviction. One July 2020 study predicted that approximately 450,000 households—40% of all New Jersey renter households—would be unable pay rent in August, and that nearly half of Black New Jersey renter households would be unable to do so—a higher percentage than for any other race or ethnicity. It is estimated that between 400,000 and 560,000 New Jersey renter households are at risk of eviction, which is forecasted to culminate in New Jersey with an estimated 600% increase from pre-COVID-19 levels.

For the past 14 years, Proskauer has partnered with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law in its Election Protection initiative, a nonpartisan project mobilizing law firms, law schools, in-house counsel, and other members of the legal community to ensure every vote is counted fairly and equally.  Proskauer will again host a national call center to provide comprehensive voting information, as well as monitor election-related issues.

Countdown to Election Day: Making Your Voting Plan

In the midst of a pandemic and with less than a month until Election Day, every American must have a plan to ensure their vote is cast.  If you choose to vote in person, locate your local polling place online or through the 866-OUR-VOTE hotline, arrange for transportation, and no matter how long the wait may be: stay in line.  Make sure you know your polling place’s hours, and bring the documentation your state requires.  Review your employer’s policies regarding taking time off to vote, and arrange for childcare, if necessary.

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 11th Annual Golden Gavel Awards ceremony on January 22. The following is a list of recipients alphabetically by project.

Protecting Voting Rights

These attorneys and paralegals ensured that a team of more than 150 volunteers from Proskauer and partnering corporate clients would be ready and able to answer nearly 2,000 calls over two days from voters in five states during the 2018 mid-term elections. This effort was part of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law non-partisan “Election Protection” hotline program, which strives to ensure that all U.S. citizens can exercise their right to vote.