March 3, 2020 (New York) – Proskauer’s pro bono partner Bill Silverman spoke with Law360 on the growth of pro bono partners in Big Law.
After joining the Firm as pro bono partner four years ago, Bill has overseen the Firm’s efforts in pursuing pro bono matters with the same vigor as lawyers devote to billable work. A sign of commitment from the Firm, Bill notes that there are many benefits to having a full-time partner in charge of pro bono efforts. He explained that partners are better positioned to lead new partnerships and opportunities as well as provide supervision for attorneys taking on pro bono projects.
Bill said, “Every firm wants to have the best corporate department or the best litigation department, and you have that because you have senior, experienced lawyers who are running those departments. And there’s really no difference to having a high-functioning, high-impact pro bono program.”
Most recently, Bill has led the Firm’s continued criminal justice reform efforts.
In the Southern District of New York, Proskauer lawyers are providing pro bono civil legal services to participants in the Reentry through Intensive Supervision and Employment (RISE) Court. This groundbreaking reentry program is dedicated to encouraging employment and the successful reentry of certain at-risk defendants on supervised release.
Among other recent notable cases, our pro bono team joined forces with the Advocacy Center of Louisiana, and the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs to secure qualified, certified American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters for deaf probationers and parolees. The settlement agreement requires the authorities in Louisiana to conduct communication assessments on an annual basis to determine whether an affected individual requires a qualified, certified ASL interpreter (or auxiliary aid) to communicate effectively, and, if required, to provide one at intake meetings, interactions that impact the freedom or sentence of an affected individual, and at all classes or treatment programs required as a condition of supervision. Through this settlement, deaf and hard of hearing individuals under supervision who need assistance to communicate effectively will receive equal access to justice.
Read Law360’s full article here (subscription required).
Pro Bono at Proskauer
We encourage our lawyers to make pro bono a vital part of their practice from the beginning of their careers. Every first-year associate is given a pro bono project upon joining the Firm, and all of our lawyers are expected to perform at least 50 pro bono hours annually. Treated the same as client work, each pro bono hour counts toward billable hours. Our extensive pro bono docket ranges from high-impact litigation and complex transactions for nonprofit organizations to matters for low-income individuals seeking equal access to justice.