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Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman Presents Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP with The Legal Aid Society’s 2013 Pro Bono Publico Award

Monday, October 28, 2013

  • Organization: The Legal Aid Society

On October 29, 2013, The Legal Aid Society honored 334 leading pro bono lawyers and other legal professionals along with 48 law firms and 2 corporations for their outstanding pro bono service at the 2013 Pro Bono Awards Ceremony, held at The Prince George Ballroom in Manhattan. These select professionals—primarily from New York’s leading law firms and corporate legal departments—were nominated from the nearly 3,200 volunteer attorneys and other legal staff who participated in the Society’s pro bono program during the past year and handled over 3,000 matters on behalf of low-income New Yorkers.

The volunteers and their firms were recognized for legal excellence in handling administrative hearings, trials, appeals, class actions, and transactional cases on behalf of senior citizens, children and adults with disabilities, domestic violence survivors, immigrants facing deportation, homeless children and adults, inmates in correctional facilities, New Yorkers devastated by Hurricane Sandy, and other vulnerable low-income New Yorkers. The outpouring of pro bono assistance added another distinguished chapter to the 137-year pro bono partnership between The Legal Aid Society and the private bar to secure fundamental legal rights of low-income New Yorkers in critical need of counsel but unable to afford it.

The Honorable Jonathan Lippman, New York State’s Chief Judge, presided over the ceremony, honoring recipients with the presentation of their awards. Chief Judge Lippman praised the New York Bar for its outstanding pro bono commitment.

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP was the recipient of the 2013 Pro Bono Publico and Public Service Law Firm Award in recognition of its exceptional pro bono commitment to The Legal Aid Society and its clients. Under the leadership of firm chair Brad S. Karp, Partner and Legal Aid Society Board Member Michele Hirschman, and Pro Bono Counsel Rebecca Behr, the attorneys, legal assistants, and administrative staff of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP have devoted an average of over ten thousand hours per year to pro bono work on behalf of low-income New Yorkers for the past three years.

Dating back over half a century, Paul Weiss’s sustained commitment to the Society and its clients is as varied as it is large. During the past year, Paul Weiss attorneys have partnered with the Society and the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund in a federal court class action challenging unlawful arrest procedures of the New York City Police Department, provided workshops and advice for low-income micro entrepreneurs, sought relief through the Americans with Disabilities Act for blind and visually impaired inmates at State correctional facilities, and represented individuals facing eviction and potential homelessness in administrative hearings against the New York City Housing Authority.

The firm also has supported The Legal Aid Society with Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts, which included direct outreach to survivors in affected communities, staffing the Disaster Relief Helpline, executing rapid outreach to assist potential disaster food stamps recipients, and providing office space and resources to displaced staff of the Society.

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