The firm recognizes the importance of providing pro bono services to individuals and organizations unable to afford quality legal representation, and is committed to providing the same aggressive representation of its pro bono clients as any other firm clients. The firm encourages its attorneys to handle pro bono and other public service matters in any area in which they are interested. In addition to handling pro bono matters, firm attorneys serve on the boards of legal services organizations and are involved in advising various community, religious, charitable and other not-for-profit organizations.
When making advancement and compensation decisions, legal experience obtained and hours worked on pro bono matters are treated comparably to experience and hours on other client matters.
The firm has received various awards for its pro bono work in the last several years, including a Safe Haven Award from Immigration Equality in 2012 for its work representing LGBT applicants for asylum in the U.S., and awards from The Legal Aid Society for the firm’s work in, among other things, helping to prevent foreclosures and on behalf of victims of predatory lending and mortgage scams. In addition, a firm attorney received the 2011 John Geiger Award from Her Justice (formerly known as inMotion) for work on behalf of Her Justice’s disadvantaged clients in family court matters, and for mentoring attorneys and summer associates at the firm.
The firm handles matters referred by various legal services organizations and courts, including, among others, The Legal Aid Society, Her Justice, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, Human Rights First, Immigration Equality, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), the Veterans Advocacy Project (affiliated with the Urban Justice Center), Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), the SNDY Pro Se Office, the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Association, the Northern District of California Pro Bono Project, the Santa Clara County Public Defenders Office and the SF Volunteer Lawyers Services Program.
Kasowitz attorneys have handled pro bono cases involving a wide array of issues, including child custody and support, divorce, political asylum, immigration, landlord-tenant, government benefits, employment discrimination, special education, foreclosure defense, veteran’s rights, civil rights and representation of not-for-profit organizations.
Examples of some pro bono matters recently handled include the following:
- Representing refugees from numerous countries in applications for political asylum on various grounds, including religious beliefs, political opinions and sexual orientation.
- Representing families seeking reunification. Kasowitz attorneys have worked on several successful reunification cases involving Darfuri families caught in an immigration loophole that had prevented their young children from being eligible to enter the U.S.
- Representing unaccompanied immigrant children facing removal from the United States to apply for asylum or special immigrant status.
- Representing victims of domestic abuse and other disadvantaged mothers in obtaining custody orders, divorces, additional child support and orders of protection.
- Representing the non-biological mother from a same-sex relationship in a highly contested proceeding to establish parental rights under California law.
- Representing disabled and low-income veterans in child support, custody proceedings and other matters.
- Representing residents of a California town in a civil rights action that resulted in obtaining additional municipal services.
- Representing public housing tenants in defending against proceedings to remove them from NYCHA housing.
- Representing Holocaust survivors who lived in a German-controlled ghetto to apply for reparations under several ongoing programs funded by the German Government.
- Representing a victim of pregnancy discrimination. The attorneys who worked on this matter were presented with a Pro Bono Award by The Legal Aid Society.
- Representing an inmate, who was allegedly beaten by prison guards, in obtaining a favorable settlement. The attorneys who worked on this matter were presented with a Pro Bono Award by The Legal Aid Society.
- Representing non-profit organizations in various incorporation, real estate and employment matters.
- Representing children in appeals filed in New York State guardianship proceedings.
- Defending clients in various misdemeanor actions in Santa Clara County, California.
- Representing a California state court prisoner in a claim of racial discrimination in exercise yard assignments.