Last week, Proskauer prevailed at the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of our client, Stuart Harrow, in an appeal that determined that the statutory deadlines for appealing administrative decisions are not automatically jurisdictional and do not prevent claims challenging a furlough from being heard in the Federal Circuit. Following a furlough in 2013, Department of Defense employee Stuart Harrow appealed to the Merits Systems Protection Board (MSPB), an independent agency established to adjudicate federal employment disputes, for a hardship exemption. He argued that he was prevented from finding other work due to a discontinuous six-day furlough and, as a result, should receive lost pay. After waiting several years for a decision, during which time the MSPB lost its quorum and temporarily stopped deciding cases, Mr. Harrow’s claim was eventually denied. Even then, it took some time for Mr. Harrow to learn of this decision, as it was sent to a DOD email address that had been deactivated.

In the months since Proskauer hosted its immigration panel discussion in partnership with Sanctuary for Families this past January, the influx of migrants across the U.S. southern border has continued. So has the dire need for pro bono legal services for these new arrivals along with it. Recent U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Data indicates that the U.S. Border Patrol had almost 140,000 encounters with migrants crossing into the U.S. from Mexico in March 2024, down from a record high of nearly 250,000 in December 2023. According to the Wilson Center, 2023 marked the first year that more than half of the people reaching the border originated beyond Mexico and the Northern Triangle countries of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. From our own recent experience, we have seen this trend continue.

Financial literacy and independence are important for everyone, but even more important for women given the gender wealth gap. According to Forbes, “in the U.S., women-headed families only have 55% of the median wealth as compared to families headed by men.” As part of our observance of Women’s History Month, Proskauer hosted a workshop on the importance of financial literacy with Savvy Ladies, a non-profit committed to empowering women through financial education. Stacy Francis, founder of Savvy Ladies, and Lisa Zeiderman, Board Chair, shared best practices for taking charge of one’s finances, regardless of economic status or stage in life. They explained the difference between financial advisors, consultants and planners, and the mistakes to avoid when seeking a financial advisor. Above all, the pair highlighted the importance of staying engaged, prepared and in control when dealing with finances and not to leave financial matters up to a spouse, partner or family member.

Since 2020, Proskauer has acted as pro bono legal counsel representing an inmate in the Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”) in connection with his Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment claims in the District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Plaintiff brought the action against several defendants for their failure to provide appropriate care for his serious medical needs.

Last week, the Proskauer community gathered for the 16th Annual Golden Gavel Awards ceremony to celebrate and honor those lawyers and staff members who went far above and beyond to contribute to the Firm’s pro bono, corporate social responsibility and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion efforts in 2023. Congratulations and thanks to the following colleagues for their extraordinary commitment to public service.

On December 7, 2023, a team of Proskauer attorneys joined the American Civil Liberties Union (“ACLU”), the ACLU of Delaware, and attorneys from Shaw Keller LLP in filing a complaint against the state of Delaware on behalf of the Prisoners Legal Advocacy Network (“PLAN”) to protect the Constitutional right to vote for incarcerated individuals.

On October 23, 2023, Proskauer attorneys submitted an amicus brief in connection with the U.S. Supreme Court case of Moore v. United States[1] on behalf of the American College of Tax Counsel—a nonprofit professional association of tax lawyers in private practice, law school teaching positions and government that is widely recognized for its excellence in, and substantive contributions to, the tax profession. Moore is widely viewed as a significant case, as it represents the first time in decades in which the Supreme Court will consider the constitutionality of a federal income tax statute. Furthermore, the Court’s decision has the potential to upend years of well-settled tax law and planning principles, introduce unprecedented uncertainty into the Code and spawn voluminous litigation.     

In September, I had the privilege of speaking on a panel at The New York City Bar Association titled “Securing Democracy For Tomorrow.” Moderated by United States Magistrate Judge Katharine Parker, the event focused on the importance of civic education. To start things off, Dawn Smalls, a partner at Jenner & Block, introduced the keynote speaker, Schools Chancellor David Banks. David is a strong supporter of civic education and its capacity to empower students as change agents that have a genuine, lasting effect in their communities. He shared powerful firsthand examples from his career, in which he witnessed the impact of student activism as a positive force for social change in some of our most underserved neighborhoods.