SRZ has a long history as a leader in pro bono with a myriad of initiatives to its credit. In 2005 it took another groundbreaking step when it hired Daniel Greenberg, who was formerly Attorney-in-Chief of The Legal Aid Society and Director of Clinical Programs at Harvard Law School, to fill the newly created position of Special Counsel for Pro Bono Initiatives. A year later, the Louisiana Bar Association awarded us its Pro Bono Publico Award for prevailing in a lawsuit against FEMA, keeping more than 150,000 families in hotel shelters after Hurricane Katrina destroyed their homes.
Currently we are co-counsel with the New York Civil Liberties Union in challenging the adequacy of standards, oversight and resources in the indigent defense system. In addition to this test case litigation, the firm has been an innovator in representing not-for-profit organizations on their business affairs. We regularly advise nearly 50 such entities with diverse missions, including Sanctuary for Families (defending battered women), Hedge Funds Care (raising money to support abused children), and Partners In Health (providing health care in underdeveloped countries such as Haiti, Peru and Rwanda). The non-litigation support ranges from business transactions to intellectual property, real estate, tax, employment and general corporate matters. This allows the not-for-profits to focus their energies on mission-driven advocacy rather than the business end of their operations. We also represent a number of immigrants in asylum cases.
SRZ was also the first firm to place its summer associates in one-week internships with public interest organizations selected from among the firm’s regular pro bono clients.
Each year, SRZ hosts a Pro Bono Awards Ceremony to celebrate the work of attorneys who devoted more than 50 hours to pro bono projects and to recognize public interest organizations that work on behalf of the poor or otherwise engage a public policy issue to which the firm devotes substantial pro bono time. For more information on SRZ’s 2014 Pro Bono Awards Ceremony, click here, or view the New York Law Journal’s coverage here.