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 to its pro bono clients as it does to 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.
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, foreclosure defense, veterans' rights, special education, civil rights and representation of not-for-profit organizations.
The firm has received various awards for its pro bono work in the last several years, including pro bono publico awards from the Legal Aid Society and the 2013 Legal Aid Public Interest Law award. Also in 2013, the firm was a recipient of a Safe Haven Award from Immigration Equality for its work representing LGBT refugees seeking asylum in the United States. Moreover, an associate at the firm received the John Geiger Award for work on behalf of Her Justice’s (formerly known as inMotion) disadvantaged clients in family court matters, and for mentoring other attorneys and summer associates in these matters.
The firm handles matters referred by a variety of 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 Veteran Advocacy Project (affiliated with the Urban Justice Center), Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), the SDNY 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.
Examples of some of the pro bono matters recently handled by the firm’s attorneys include the following:
- Achieved a significant victory for homeowners against Countrywide Financial Corporation in a lawsuit alleging a “bait and switch” scheme in which Countrywide initially promised the homeowners access to conventional loans with low payments and then switched the financing three days before closing to unconventional adjustable rate loans with extremely high costs. On July 16, 2014, the Ninth Circuit reversed an earlier district court dismissal of the case, holding that a complaint should not be dismissed for a failure to tender the proceeds of a loan and that the statute of limitations under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act is subject to equitable tolling. The 2-1 decision makes new law that will benefit not only the consumers directly involved in the litigation against Countrywide, but many others suing financial institutions and lenders for violations of federal law in the residential mortgage market.
- Representing clients native to Afghanistan seeking political asylum in the United States as a result of being targeted by the Taliban.
- Representing refugees from Tibet, Bhutan, Sudan (Darfur), Brazil, Guinea and other countries in applying for political asylum and handling related immigration issues, including family reunifications. Kasowitz attorneys have worked on a number of successful reunification cases involving Darfuri families caught in an immigration loophole that had prevented their young children from being eligible to enter the United States. Click for additional information on these joyful reunifications.
- Representing refugees from Jamaica, Sri Lanka, Brazil and other countries who were persecuted on account of their sexual orientation in applying for asylum in the United States.
- 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 and additional child support, in conjunction with Her Justice. Click for a thank you note from a pro bono client.
- 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 an ongoing screening and clinic program. This is a recently-reopened reparations program, 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.
The firm’s pro bono matters are coordinated by David J. Abrams
, a litigation partner in the New York office. For more information about the firm's pro bono program and representation in pro bono cases, please contact .