Proskauer’s 35-year pro bono representation of a death row inmate, J.B. Parker, came to a successful conclusion last week when the 19th Judicial Circuit Court of Florida sentenced him to life in prison with the possibility of parole following the State of Florida’s decision to stop pursuing the death penalty.
The Pro Bono Project is a New Orleans-based non-profit providing free civil legal services to underserved members of six South Louisiana parishes. Managed by The Pro Bono Project and staffed with volunteers — including attorneys, paralegals, and law students — the Self-Help Resource Centers (SHRCs) provide assistance to pro se plaintiffs with various family law-related matters.
Unrepresented litigants who visit the SHRC receive assistance with petitions relating to custody, divorce, and name changes, as well as a variety of other pleadings, such as answers and orders to show cause. Pro se plaintiffs who come in person can access court-approved forms, including free notarization, and are advised of next steps. While the SHRCs do not provide legal counsel, they provide information — especially to those with more complicated legal issues — about organizations providing low- or no-cost representation.
According to the most recent FBI statistics, reported incidents of hate crimes increased by 17 percent in 2017, rising for the third consecutive year. The FBI determined that the primary motivators of these crimes were race, ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation.1 When compounded with the rise in anti-immigrant sentiment, and recent changes in U.S. policy that negatively impact immigrants seeking asylum relief, there is an enormous, urgent need for effective pro bono legal services among LGBTQ immigrants.
Given this context, Bloomberg LP and Proskauer are proud sponsors of Lauren DesRosiers, an Equal Justice Works Fellow at the Anti-Violence Project (AVP), who is devoted to providing holistic legal services to LGBTQ immigrant survivors of violence. According to Lauren, “this project combats the further marginalization of these communities by creating channels whereby LGBTQ immigrant survivors of violence can be paired with pro bono attorneys and other forms of representation.”
Throughout law school I worked with the Suspension Representation Project (SRP) as an advocate in New York City public school suspension hearings, and am now helping to coordinate a new project at Proskauer through our partnership with SRP and The Center for Popular Democracy. This post will examine the school suspension process in New York City, and the great need for increased attention to this issue and representation for the students in these hearings.
As set forth in a prior For Good post, it is well established that missed school days at the primary and secondary level have a significant negative impact on student performance, decrease the likelihood of successful graduation, and increase the likelihood that a student will be arrested. Unfortunately, many schools are ill-equipped to intervene in negative student behaviors other than by removing students from the classroom.