Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP and Viacom Honored at the City Bar Justice Center Annual Gala

Monday, April 29, 2013

  • City Bar Justice Center
Veterans Assistance Project also Celebrates Fifth Anniversary

Cravath Honored at Gala

The City Bar Justice Center honored Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP and Viacom Inc. at its annual gala on April 10th, with Xerox Corporation and Shearman & Sterling LLP serving as Gala Co-Chairs. The Gala’s success helps the City Bar Justice Center assist over 20,000 low-income New Yorkers a year, while leveraging $20 million in pro bono services. For the event, the New York City Bar Building was transformed for an evening of regional wines and inspired market cuisine. Allen Parker, Presiding Partner at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP, accepted the City Bar Justice Award, saying “We have been pleased to have been an early and enthusiastic supporter of the City Bar Justice Center and are delighted to see it grow in its ability to assist 20,000 clients a year.” Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP and the City Bar Justice Center share a longstanding commitment to improving the law and the legal system by providing access to pro bono legal representation to those unable to afford it. Through its engagement with the New York City Bar Association, including a leadership role on committees, and its generous, longstanding financial support of the City Bar Justice Center, Cravath has helped advance the Justice Center’s mission, focused on leveraging attorney volunteerism to the city’s indigent and vulnerable populations. Cravath’s longstanding support for pro bono work has contributed significantly to the establishment of pro bono work as a vital attribute of the modern New York City legal community.

Viacom also Receives City Bar Justice Center Award

Viacom was also honored to accept a City Bar Justice Center Award. Viacom’s commitment to social responsibility is a key facet of the company’s success and an inextricable part of Viacom’s culture. Its pro bono program, headed by Michael D. Fricklas, Viacom’s General Counsel, is one embodiment of this longstanding commitment. Each year, it strives to deliver 5,000 hours of community and pro bono legal services across the law department. Since 2009, Mr. Fricklas has served on the Task Force to Expand Access to Civil Legal Services in New York, having been personally appointed to the task force by Judge Jonathan Lippman, Chief Judge of the State of New York. In accepting the City Bar Justice Award for Viacom, Mr. Fricklas said, “Viacom’s world-class brands and creative content give the company an enormous platform to contribute to our society by inspiring our audiences to take action in their communities and across the world. We take this responsibility seriously and we are proud that it is part of everything we do." The company is engaged on an ongoing basis in a range of pro bono work, from law clinics to international volunteerism. Viacom’s regular volunteer collaboration with the City Bar Justice Center’s Neighborhood Entrepreneur Law Project (NELP), which provides low-to-mid-income micro-entrepreneurs with the legal services necessary to start and maintain businesses, exemplifies Viacom’s legal clinic work.

CBJC's Veterans Assistance Project Celebrates 5th Anniversary

In addition to honoring both Cravath and Viacom, the City Bar Justice Center Annual Gala celebrated the fifth anniversary milestone of the City Bar Justice Center’s Veterans Assistance Project (VAP). This pro bono project began in October 2007, with the core support of 11 founding law firm partners convinced that having skilled legal counsel would greatly improve veterans’ chances of receiving benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Today, nearly 500 volunteers from more than 75 law firms and corporate legal departments, recruited and trained by the City Bar Justice Center, are helping veterans navigate the daunting bureaucratic obstacles presented by making a case before the VA. The Justice Center was in the vanguard in appreciating the vital importance of high-quality pro bono legal representation for veterans pursuing disability claims. According to a nationwide study, the average award for veterans represented by attorneys is more than twice that awarded the unrepresented. To date, the VAP has served over 600 veterans, recovering more than $1.2 million dollars in retroactive benefits and helping many get increased monthly benefits. With the recent focus on sexual abuse in the military and other-than-honorable discharges of Vietnam veterans likely suffering from undiagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder, VAP is working to assist new veterans obtain justice for harms previously unrecognized or ignored. Effective advocacy and careful lawyering by pro bono lawyers is doing much to ease the reintegration of those who have served our country in the armed forces, and we are grateful to the New York legal community for supporting our efforts.