The Legal Aid Society Honors 43 Law Firms and 328 Lawyers For Outstanding Pro Bono Service
Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman presented the 2011 Pro Bono Publico and Public Service Law Firm Award to Shearman & Sterling LLP. Pictured from left are: Steven Banks, Attorney-in-Chief; Linda Rappaport, a partner at the firm and a Director of the Society; Fin Fogg, President of the Society and of counsel at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP; Chief Judge Lippman; Richard J. Davis, Chairman of the Society and a partner at Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP; and Brian Polovoy, a Shearman partner.

The Legal Aid Society's 2011 Pro Bono Publico Awards epitomize the enduring strength of this partnership, delivering life-changing legal assistance to our City's most vulnerable residents – for example, survivors of domestic violence, homeless and imminently homeless children and adults, immigrants, senior citizens, unemployed and low-wage workers, children and adults with disabilities and chronically ill children and adults, neglected or abused children, persons living with HIV/AIDS, New Yorkers wrongfully accused of crimes, and inmates in the jails on Rikers Island and prisoners in correctional facilities throughout the State of New York.

The Honorable Jonathan Lippman, Chief Judge of the State of New York presented awards to 43 law firms and 328 individual lawyers during the 2011 pro Bono Awards Ceremony at Espace on November 9. The 2011 Pro Bono Publico and Public Service Law Firm Award was presented to Shearman & Sterling LLP. The firm was honored for its exceptional pro bono commitment to The Legal Aid Society and its clients.

Shearman & Sterling LLP is an exemplary pro bono partner, serving as co-counsel on a significant lawsuit on behalf of low-income workers, instituting an innovative law firm/corporate pro bono project to address the unmet legal needs of adults and children with disabilities, developing a unique public benefits advocacy program to represent public assistance recipients at Fair Hearings, and providing outstanding appellate counsel for adults accused of criminal conduct. The firm also has handled a variety of civil legal matters and has provided translation support to the Society’s three Practices: Civil, Criminal, and Juvenile Rights.

In a major federal class action affecting the rights of low-income employees, a legal team from Shearman & Sterling is working with the Civil Practice’s Employment Law Unit to address a pizza franchise’s systemic failure to pay its delivery workers wages due them and to comply with State and federal labor laws. Coordinated by Pro Bono Director and Counsel Saralyn Cohen and Denise Karamian, the firm has partnered with Credit Suisse to establish a Supplemental Social Security Income Waiver Clinic, which assists individuals with disabilities who are threatened with loss of crucial benefits due to alleged overpayments. This unique law firm/corporate pro bono project has contributed more than 1,550 hours of legal assistance on behalf of this vulnerable population, enabling them to maintain an independent, modest lifestyle despite their disability. In addition, lawyers from the firm worked with the Criminal Appeals Bureau and the Criminal Defense Practice, spearheading an investigation into the wrongful conviction of man who has spent 20 years in prison. Their efforts resulted in the vacatur of the conviction on grounds of newly discovered evidence and the inmate’s eventual release.