Proskauer’s longstanding Board Service Initiative places our partners on non-profit boards where they serve organizations in the communities where we live and work, offering guidance and counsel and using their talents and expertise to impact lasting change. Our partners dedicate their services to a wide range of non-profit boards in
Proskauer is a proud supporter of American Corporate Partners (ACP), a national nonprofit organization focused on helping returning veterans and active duty spouses find their next careers through one-on-one mentoring, networking and online career advice. Each year, Proskauer provides a group of highly committed volunteers who are paired with ACP protégés to offer ongoing guidance and mentorship in pursuing civilian careers.
For many that ACP serves, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the job application process have been particularly challenging. “Our veterans are stellar individuals, but they are at a disadvantage when applying for jobs right now,” said Timothy Cochrane, Senior Vice President at ACP. “Companies will hire back people they let go at the beginning of the pandemic or recent college graduates. Many of our veterans have little or no corporate experience. Translating military skills is the number one issue they confront when finding a new position and having a mentor makes all of the difference in the world.”
For over 30 years, Proskauer lawyers have worked with students from Francis Lewis High School in Queens to help prepare them for moot court competitions. This year’s program was unlike any other with practices held over Zoom from living rooms and bedrooms across the City; and, instead of walking up to the lectern at the Thurgood Marshall Courthouse, a grand classical revival landmark in lower Manhattan, each student argued at home in front of a laptop. Despite the challenging situation, the competitors made it to the semi-finals of this year’s Metropolitan Mentor Moot Court competition for the first time in ten years.
On March 15, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the city’s public schools would close in response to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic. Overnight, more than 1,700 schools and over one million students and their families shifted to remote-learning curriculums. Since then, all NYC public schools have closed for the remainder of the academic year. For some families, the shift has been manageable, but for many others, it’s impractical. Without the technology needed for remote-learning, thousands of students remain isolated from their teachers and classmates. Recent reporting states that roughly 16% of NYC students lack daily communication with their schools. The Department of Education has committed to providing internet-connected tablets to families in need, a number that by late-April surpassed more than 70,000 students.
To support families in these difficult times, many local non-profit organizations have refocused their efforts to track students’ needs and provide the necessary resources. Read Ahead, one of Proskauer’s longtime non-profit partners, is one such organization. For nearly 30 years, Read Ahead (formerly Everyone Wins! New York) has connected adult reading mentors with children in public elementary schools once per week during their lunch hours. As a member of their Junior Board, I am pleased to share a few of their updates.
COVID-19 has presented us with unprecedented challenges around the globe. We wish everyone good health.
Our Firm remains committed to the many students we work with on a regular basis through our CSR programs. Although the virus has made it impossible to continue our face-to-face mentoring, we are connecting through webinars, phone and online meetings.
Most recently, we were able to virtually host a class with John Jay College students on the topic of law and social justice. Our pro bono partner, Bill Silverman, led the videoconference, and we had wonderful attendance and participation as we discussed the need for criminal justice reform during the COVID crisis. Students shared thoughts about measures we need to take to ensure safety in our prisons; our strong consensus was that prisoners with medical conditions who do not pose a threat to public safety should be released.
There are more than one million students enrolled in New York City public schools, making it the largest school system in the United States. Yet each student enrolled is unique and enters school each day with varying needs. Thus, there is a general consensus that providing targeted and individualized support to students is crucial to their academic success. Furthermore, implementing this support early in their education can impact students during critical stages in their development and benefit their academic performance for years to come.
Since 2015, I have served on the junior board for Read Ahead, a non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring that New York City elementary school students have the skills they need for academic and life-long success. Read Ahead’s program is centered on one-on-one lunchtime reading-based mentoring sessions between students and volunteer mentors. Students are recommended by their teachers or school staff to participate in the program because they are reading below grade level, English Language Learners, or in need of social or emotional support to boost their self-confidence, their classroom performance, or their interest in reading.
This November, Proskauer is celebrating its year-round commitment to veterans by announcing a new partnership with American Corporate Partners (ACP), the nation’s leading veteran mentoring program for service members transitioning to corporate careers.
Ten senior partners and executives at Proskauer were selected to provide career guidance and personalized, one-on-one mentorships…
We work with iMentor to empower first-generation students from low-income communities to graduate high school, succeed in college and achieve their ambitions. Last week, our mentees Elizabeth and Steven joined us at our New York City offices as part of iMentor’s “take your mentee to work day.” Elizabeth and Steven are high school juniors at Bronx High School for Law and Community Service.
After picking our mentees up from the Bryant Park subway stop, we welcomed them to the office and gave them a tour of the space. Elizabeth then shadowed a finance conference call with corporate partner Ron Franklin, while Steven met with attorneys from various departments. No visit to the Proskauer offices would be complete without a trip to Shake Shack, enjoyed in our cafeteria at a table that gave us expansive views of the city. At lunch, we talked about our college experiences and our mentees’ future career goals. Our mentees asked a lot of questions about the transition to college (which is starting to feel like a long time ago for us!), and about why we decided to attend our respective colleges and ultimately decided to become lawyers.