May 2017 Volunteer Spotlight - City Bar Justice Center Gala Celebrates Pro Bono
On April 5th, the City Bar Justice Center’s 12th Annual Gala honored the global business leader Bloomberg L.P. and the international law firm Proskauer Rose LLP with the 2017 City Bar Justice Awards, for their leadership and dedication to pro bono and public service. This year’s gala raised critical support for the Justice Center, which protects the rights of over 20,000 New Yorkers each year through pro bono legal assistance, know-your-rights presentations, legal clinics, and the largest free civil legal hotline in New York. The Justice Center leverages over $18 million worth of pro bono legal services each year.
In the inaugural year of its pro bono program, employees in Bloomberg’s New York office provided over 2,000 hours of free legal services, including helping veterans in need of disability benefits and aspiring small business owners through the Justice Center’s Veterans Assistance Project and Neighborhood Entrepreneur Law Project.
Proskauer’s expansive pro bono work ranges from civil rights litigation cases and complex corporate transactions for nonprofit organizations to direct services for individual clients in need. In addition to partnering with Bloomberg to aid dozens of veterans at the Justice Center, in the past year Proskauer significantly expanded its pro bono immigration practice, assisting more than 100 individuals in various proceedings. The firm also continues to handle a variety of pro bono matters for victims of domestic violence and human trafficking, Holocaust survivors, as well as low-income litigants in Family and Housing courts.
John Kiernan, President of the New York City Bar Association, along with Jane Sherburne, Chair of the City Bar Fund Board, presented the awards. David Levine, General Counsel, and Michael Cardozo, Partner, accepted the awards on behalf of Bloomberg and Proskauer, respectively.
From left: Bret Parker, Executive Director of the New York City Bar Association; Michael Cardozo, partner at Proskauer; David Levine, General Counsel at Bloomberg L.P.; John Kiernan, President of the New York City Bar Association and a partner at Debevoise & Plimpton; Lynn Kelly, executive director of the Justice Center; and Jane Sherburne, chair of the City Bar Fund and principal of Sherburne PLLC.
“Our message to the legal community is that we can — and we must — do more, especially in an environment where so many New Yorkers need our help,” said David Levine. “As lawyers, we are uniquely qualified to help on issues involving social justice, and we’ve recently witnessed an unprecedented level of interest among peers to make a difference through pro bono service. As we have been inspired by our many pro bono partners, I hope we can serve as inspiration for other corporate legal functions on how to make a significant difference in our communities through pro bono service. It isn’t enough to offer words of encouragement and money. Those of us in leadership roles have an obligation to set an example and do.”
The City Bar transformed into “ Call of the Wild: The Lure of Pro Bono”
About the City Bar Justice Center
The City Bar Justice Center, the pro bono affiliate of the New York City Bar Association, increases access to justice by leveraging the resources of the New York City legal community. The Justice Center operates the city’s busiest legal hotline and annually provides direct legal representation, information and advocacy to over 20,000 New Yorkers in areas including immigration, homelessness, veterans assistance, foreclosure, bankruptcy, elderlaw, cancer advocacy and micro-entrepreneurship.
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Interested in volunteering? Start searching for pro bono opportunities by interest area (e.g. family, asylum), community served (e.g. domestic violence victims, children) or location right now by using our interactive NY Pro Bono Opportunities Guide!