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.
Nearly half of the 20 million veterans in the United States use at least one government benefit or service offered by U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (commonly known as the “VA”). Many of these veterans have developed mental and physical disabilities related to their service, and are entitled to compensation. …
Next week, Proskauer will headline the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Veterans Legal Services Project (VLSP) clinic. Proskauer attorneys sponsor the clinic every November – but this year’s clinic will be very different. The VLSP clinic has adjusted to the realities of 2020 and, in doing so, has found new ways to improve its services to veterans. For many veterans, the transition back to civilian life is challenging, and the unique difficulties posed by the COVID-19 public health crisis has had a tremendous impact on the ability to find legal representation and other crucial services.
The VLSP clinic focuses on providing advice to homeless and at-risk veterans regarding record expungements, as well as outstanding tickets and warrants. Attorneys attending the clinic perform interviews and intakes for the clinic, and provide referrals to the attending veterans.
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 my father and my involvement in the clinic has deep roots. I participate in the clinic because of my dad – to fulfill a promise I once made him.
My father administered my oath of office when I was commissioned to the Navy in 1992. In the years that followed, I relied heavily on his advice to find my way through the triumphs and trials of a young Naval officer. After completing my active service, I went to law school, raised a family and built my legal career. My father’s advice was still relevant to the business world and served to guide many of my steps along the way to becoming a partner at Proskauer.
My 16-year-old daughter, Helena, recently expressed an interest in helping veterans for a high school service project. I immediately took out my phone and emailed my partner Colleen Hart, a veteran of the U.S. Navy, who is heavily involved in veteran volunteer efforts. Colleen wrote me back inviting Helena to help with the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Veterans Legal Services Project (VLSP), a clinic that assists Veterans with legal issues.
Helena worked with Colleen at the VLSP in March, and returned home telling me how much she enjoyed the experience and the meaningful work. The clinic meets once a month, so I decided to join her the next time she went. In preparation, I took a training along with several attorneys from Proskauer and our client A&E Television Network.