From Oct. 26 to Oct. 30, the firm is celebrating Pro Bono Week. It celebrates pro bono participation and those who give their time and talents across many professions to make a positive difference in local communities around the world. We would like to dedicate this issue of Pro Bono News to everyone at the firm who volunteers to assist our pro bono clients and helps us promote Kramer Levin's continued commitment to pro bono work.
In This Issue
- Kramer Levin Racial Justice Initiative
- Pro Bono Program Spotlights
- Pro Bono Successes
- Transactional Law Highlights
- Bankruptcy and Restructuring Law Highlights
- Name Changes
- Amicus Briefs
- Immigration Law Highlights
- Pro Bono Advocacy
- Honors and Awards
Kramer Levin Racial Justice Initiative
In response to and in support of the clear and continued outcry for racial and social justice, Kramer Levin has established the Racial Justice Initiative. This important initiative, which is led by our Pro Bono Committee, pursues pro bono opportunities focused on racial injustice and inequality, including criminal justice reform, which has been a long-standing focus of our pro bono work. We remain committed to supporting actions that can effect real change.
More than 120 volunteers, staff and attorneys are engaged, working on a variety of projects. Some of them are highlighted below.
Assistance to Arrested Protestors, The Legal Aid Society
Kramer Levin joined the Legal Aid Society's "Cop Accountability Clinic," formed to help community members who were falsely arrested or were victims of police misconduct during the protests in New York City over the summer. Attorneys are educating and guiding folks through the steps required for filing a complaint with the Civil Complaint Review Board (CCRB).
Congratulations and Welcome to the New Pro Bono Committee Members!
Kramer Levin Racial Justice Initiative (cont.)
Voting Hotline, Election Protection
Election Protection is the nation's largest nonpartisan voter assistance organization. Kramer Levin volunteers are staffing phone banks to answer voter questions and ensure fair voting practices throughout the country in advance of Election Day.
Election Day Poll Monitoring, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund
Kramer Levin volunteers signed up to be nonpartisan poll monitors at various election sites in New York City on Election Day. The project focuses on ensuring that everyone who should be able to vote is not turned away, and that conditions at the polling stations are as they should be.
Kramer Levin Joins Law Firm Antiracism Alliance (LFAA)
Kramer Levin has joined the Law Firm Antiracism Alliance (LFAA), whose growing membership features more than 120 firms across the United States. The LFAA was formed to leverage resources from the private bar in conjunction with legal service organizations to amplify the voices of communities and individuals oppressed by racism, and to use the law as a vehicle for change that benefits communities of color. Together with our recently formed Racial Justice Initiative, our membership in the LFAA underscores the firm's commitment to promoting racial equality and working against discrimination in any form.
The LFAA was also profiled in the American Lawyer article found here.
Neighborhoods Now, Urban Design Forum and Van Alen Institute
The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected communities of color, and it threatens to expand the racial wealth gap in neighborhoods that already lack access to resources as a result of long-term structural inequities. In response, Urban Design Forum and Van Alen Institute launched Neighborhoods Now, an initiative connecting four neighborhoods hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic (Bed-Stuy, Washington Heights, Kingsbridge and Jackson Heights) with law firms, design professionals and community health experts to develop safe and effective reopening strategies
We are advising community-based organizations on a range of legal issues that have arisen relating to permitting and city requests, Department of Buildings complaints, leasing challenges, nonconforming uses, and others.
Veterans Assistance Project, City Bar Justice Center
The Veterans Assistance Project helps disabled veterans apply for medical benefits after they have been previously denied. The disabled veteran client base is approximately 75% persons of color, and these New Yorkers typically face a range of systemic challenges on top of handling often deeply difficult disability conditions. Kramer Levin attorneys are working with those veterans whose claims have been denied to assist them in assessing their claim and preparing the necessary paperwork.
Small Business Clinic, NYC Business Solutions
Kramer Levin is collaborating with the Harlem and Morningside Heights offices of NYC Business Solutions to help lowand lower-income entrepreneurs in Upper Manhattan and the Bronx as they restart, maintain and grow their businesses. Many of these businesses have been especially hard hit by COVID-19 and the shutdown. They are in great need of legal assistance — whether it be in regards to Paycheck Protection Program loans and forgiveness; seeking debt and contractual forgiveness with existing vendors, service providers and lenders; or challenges regarding reopening, etc. Kramer Levin is hosting monthly clinics to assist those businesses. Corporate partner Colin Bumby and Corporate associate Eva Tanna are spearheading this effort.
Kramer Levin lawyers meet with clients at the virtual clinic.
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