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.
Earlier this month, justices of the Louisiana Supreme Court took their places one at a time as the proceedings began, just like they have done over the past 200 years, but this court appearance was a little different. For the first time in its history, the Court heard arguments over Zoom. And while many seasoned litigators go their entire careers without a single argument before their state’s highest court, first up that day was Shanice Smith-Banks who had just graduated from law school, and who will be starting her career at Proskauer’s New Orleans office in the fall.
Shanice credits the criminal defense clinic at Loyola University New Orleans College of Law with teaching her more than any other class. Not only did she read cases but she analyzed legal issues while working directly with and advocating for clients. She wrote briefs, mastered all kinds of procedures and rules, and appeared in court on a number of different matters. Not only did she gain valuable hands-on experience, but she was able to learn about the criminal justice system up close, observing that defendants in criminal court were disproportionately black and how public defenders were forced to juggle overwhelming caseloads. But even as she was struck by deep flaws in the system, she left the clinic experience with hope.
Through Proskauer’s partnership with the City Bar Justice Center and Lawyers for Good Government, we helped launch the nationwide COVID-19 Small Business Remote Legal Clinic to consult with small businesses across a range of pressing issues: contracts & force majeure, leases, insurance, and, of course, the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program. One of the most active areas for the legal clinic has been labor & employment issues as entrepreneurs fight to keep their employees, balance their checkbooks, and abide by laws that seem to change by the week.
To train other participating firms and volunteers, a Proskauer team consisting of labor & employment partners Lloyd Chinn, Patrick Lamparello, and Nicole Eichberger and associates Caralyn Olie and Dominique Kilmartin, produced a webinar on the most important labor and employment law considerations for New York small businesses.