At its annual Pro Bono Publico Awards ceremony, The Legal Aid Society of New York City honored White & Case with its highest accolade, the 2017 Honorable Jonathan Lippman New York Pro Bono Publico and Public Service Law Firm Award, for the Firm's "sustained commitment to meet the needs of the less fortunate in New York City" including exceptional "work on homeless rights, housing and defending the Sixth Amendment's protection of the right to counsel."
"White & Case is so proud to partner with The Legal Aid Society on important cases that help ensure access to justice for low income and vulnerable New Yorkers," said White & Case partner David Hille (New York), a member of The Legal Aid Society Board of Directors, on the announcement of the Firm's win. "We are honored to receive this award for our pro bono work and share it with our dedicated colleagues at the Society."
White & Case Global Pro Bono Practice Leader Jacquelyn MacLennan (Brussels) said, "I am delighted that the great work of our lawyers to secure access to justice for the homeless and in other fundamental areas has been recognized by this highly respected award."
White & Case received the award in part for helping to bring Butler et al. vs. City of New York, a federal class action case challenging disability-based discrimination in the city's homeless shelter system. A White & Case team led by Paul Carberry (New York) worked alongside The Legal Aid Society's Homeless Rights Unit to secure a settlement with the city on behalf of a class of individuals who have a disability and who currently live in a shelter, or who will one day. The groundbreaking settlement will not only improve life for the more than 42 percent of shelter residents who are disabled, but also for their friends and families who will see improvements in services and access as a result.
Also motivating The Legal Aid Society to present White & Case with the Lippman award was the Firm's work on preserving attorney-client confidentiality in arraignments. After The Legal Aid Society discovered that the City of New York had installed video cameras in private attorney-client interview booths, White & Case, as co-counsel with The Legal Aid Society, renewed Legal Aid's prior federal case before the Eastern District, Grubbs v. Safir, to obtain a temporary order ceasing recordings. The Department of Corrections (DOC) moved to end the full-cease order, triggering discovery demands. White & Case learned that the DOC had violated the full-cease order, and returned to court to file a contempt motion against the city and the DOC. White & Case argued the contempt motion and the city's motion to vacate the cease order before the Court, and is awaiting a decision.
Other recent examples of White & Case's decades-long partnership with The Legal Aid Society include work on criminal appeals, staffing its Criminal Defense Externship in Manhattan, and handling both immigration and employment-law referrals through a unique Attorney Emeritus mentorship project.
The Legal Aid Society's recognition of White & Case's pro bono work comes less than a month after the Firm was honored with TrustLaw's Impact Award for its pro bono efforts to help end child marriage in the United States.