October 2012 Volunteer Feature: Sarah Cave of Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP and Donald Curry of Fitzpatrick, Cella, Harper & Scinto Recognized by the New York Law Journal as "Lawyers Who Lead"
Monday, October 22, 2012
- Organization: The Legal Aid Society
The Legal Aid Society was pleased to have nominated Sarah Cave, a partner with Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP, and Donald Curry, a partner with Fitzpatrick, Cella, Harper & Scinto, for recognition by the New York Law Journal as “Lawyers Who Lead." These two outstanding lawyers, who began working on pro bono matters early in their careers, consistently have integrated pro bono matters into their portfolios. They exemplify that successful law firm careers include dedicating one’s time and talent to expand access to justice for low-income New Yorkers.
Images by Rick Kopstein/New York Law Journal
Sarah Cave, a securities and bankruptcy litigation partner and co-chair of Hughes Hubbard's pro bono committee, has been working on immigration pro bono matters since she first joined the firm in 1998. Over the past three years, she has averaged more than 260 pro bono hours annually, primarily focusing on deportation, asylum and other immigration-related cases. She is passionate about her pro bono work, which she told the New York Law Journal combines challenging legal issues with compelling human stories. "In many cases, literally people fled for their lives, left everything they had, showed up at the doorstep of the U.S. and hoped they'd be allowed to stay," Cave said. "Why wouldn't you help?” Hughes Hubbard’s Chair, Candace Beinecke, told the newspaper “Every single thing we do [in pro bono] she has a hand in. She does about everything one can expect of someone in her position and three times more.”
Ms. Cave has been a long-time active partner with the Society’s Immigration Unit, representing immigrants with the HIV/AIDS virus and similar medical conditions, where deportation may be fatal because treatment is unavailable in their native countries. She has been honored by the Society for her outstanding pro bono counsel and for her firm leadership that enables Hughes Hubbard to staff the Society’s Immigration Hotline for detained immigrants and their families. Each week, associates and paralegals answer calls and conduct phone interviews, providing indispensable assistance to the Society’s Civil Practice.
Donald Curry, an intellectual property partner, has handled challenging pro bono matters throughout his career. As head of Fitzpatrick’s pro bono committee, Mr. Curry established pro bono practice groups that tapped into the firm’s IP expertise—trademark, copyright and micro-entrepreneurs—but also challenged the firm’s attorneys to become involved in predatory lending, family law, veteran's assistance and criminal appeals. Under his stewardship, the American Lawyer reports that the average per-lawyer commitment increased from one hour annually to 39 while the percentage of attorneys devoting more than 20 hours a year rose from 0.8 percent to nearly 35 percent. During this period, his individual commitment to pro bono representation never waned, devoting 482 hours in 2010 and 2011.
The Legal Aid Society’s clients have benefited from Mr. Curry’s vision to dedicate Fitzpatrick’s pro bono services to help bridge the justice gap. Although he and his colleagues had no previous experience in foreclosure and predatory lending cases, they provided representation in both a class action lawsuit and individual cases. He reported to the New York Law Journal that, "I knew nothing about dealing with banks on foreclosure matters, but if it happened to my family, I'd figure it out.” This comment epitomizes his fearless dedication to providing pro bono representation where it is needed and not restricting pro bono work to traditional IP matters. Fitzpatrick attorneys, many of whom Mr. Curry supervises, have helped the Society’s clients maintain crucial housing subsidies, obtain Social Security Disability benefits, and keep their homes, as well as assisting low-income microentrepenurs with IP issues. He has been a model for his colleagues, who report that their pro bono work is rewarding and fulfilling.