October 2010 Volunteer Feature: Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP's Community Development Externship Program
Two years ago, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP established a rotational corporate externship with The Legal Aid Society Civil Practice's Community Development Project ("CDP"). CDP offers transactional legal services to low-income small businesses, nonprofit organizations, and housing projects for low-income people. Every four months, an experienced Simpson associate joins CDP and expands the unit's capacity to provide business legal services for low income clients.
Recently, Simpson externs acted as key members of a dynamic legal team composed of CDP attorneys, law firm associates, and a deferred law firm associate extern. Their assistance enabled six low-income immigrant workers to establish Cooperativa de Servicios Arcoiris, ("Arcoiris"), an East Harlem new worker cooperative. Arcoiris provides warehousing, sorting, tagging, cleaning, and inventory services to The Sharing Place, a thrift shop run by Little Sisters of the Assumption Family Health Service ("LSA"). These first time business owners plan to offer their services to other retail thrift shops throughout New York City, thus furthering their path to economic self-sufficiency.
Working in concert with CDP attorneys Rolando Gonzalez and Steven Falla-Riff, the Arcoiris volunteer attorneys provided counsel for the partnership agreement and payment structure with LSA, the creation of a limited liability corporation that addressed cooperative ownership principles, and related tax issues. The pro bono team consisted of Justus Morris and Justin Hoffman, Simpson Thacher externs, Gina Rebollar and Katherine Schulte of Cleary Gottleib Stein & Hamilton LLP, and Kate Napalkova, deferred associate extern from Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP.
The Community Development Project's partnership with the private bar is exemplified by the Simpson Thacher corporate externship program. To learn more about our Community Development Project, please visit our website, www.legal-aid.org.