Innovative Partnership with Goodwin Procter and PricewaterhouseCoopers Expands Pro Bono
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2008

The private bar plays an instrumental role in The Legal Aid Society’s Community Development Project, which provides business legal services for low-income clients, with attorneys from New York’s leading law firms providing pro bono assistance on 75 % of the matters. Until recently, however, the Community Development Project lacked the financial and accounting expertise to advise community based nonprofits and low-income micro entrepreneurs on sound accounting practices. PricewaterhouseCoopers has made a commitment to fill this void and ensure clients operate with appropriate internal financial controls and transparency.

Tomas Meriam, a partner with Goodwin Procter, identified our clients’ need for these financial services and was instrumental in the creation of The Legal Aid Society and PwC relationship . “Through my work on the Community Development Project’s Advisory Board, it became clear that the low-income business and not-for-profit clients of the CDP would benefit from a financial accounting component in educational and client servicing functions,” said Mr. Meriam. Under his, and his fellow partner Joanne Gray’s auspices, a meeting was arranged between Dalit Stern, a PwC partner and a new Director at The Legal Aid Society, and her colleague Mark Paver, a PwC director, and the CDP staff. The PwC team quickly became enthusiastic about using their forensic accounting expertise to serve the Society’s clients. Ms. Stern said, “My team and I are very excited about the opportunity to apply our accounting background, financial knowledge and our passion to a truly noble cause, especially when the population of needy New Yorkers need it more then ever.”