Today, our pro bono work addresses a breadth of topics—ranging in size and type.
While we handle large complex litigation, we also represent indigent individuals in criminal, civil and asylum proceedings, including winning a new penalty trial for a woman on death row in Alabama in 2004. We represent environmental advocacy groups and handle corporate, tax, real estate and other matters for not-for-profit clients such as Phoenix House, a drug rehabilitation organization, and act as general counsel to Covenant House, an international organization dedicated to sheltering and counseling young people in need. Two partners sit on the board of the Madison Square Boys & Girls Club, and we advise them on employment, litigation and general corporate matters.
We recently won a landmark settlement on behalf of homeless families with children. In this settlement, New York City finally acknowledged, after 25 years of litigation, that homeless families have a state constitutional right to shelter, and has agreed to an enforceable judgment that sets the legal parameters for emergency shelter for homeless people. A team of Cravath and Legal Aid Society attorneys achieved this landmark judgment. In honor of this important work, the Legal Aid Society presented Cravath with the 2008 Pro Bono Publico and Public Service Law Firm Award. Additionally, 15 Cravath partners, associates and legal assistants received individual awards in recognition of their contributions to this matter.
In 2002, Cravath formed an interdisciplinary team with doctors and social workers at the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore in the Bronx and Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of New York-Presbyterian in Manhattan to address the needs of children and their families. We have handled more than 100 cases ranging from obtaining a humanitarian visa to negotiating housing needs and public assistance to facilitating special education—legal issues that directly affect children’s medical conditions.
In 2004, we sponsored and helped create a law-themed public high school, the School for Law & Justice (SLJ), as a partner with The Urban Assembly, a groundbreaking organization that is rethinking and reorganizing inner-city education in New York. SLJ graduated its first class in 2008, and in 2009 was ranked as the #1 unscreened high school in New York City by The New York Post. Our lawyers helped create the curriculum and continue to remain active in school life. They act as mentors to SLJ students, teach SAT preparation classes, judge moot court competitions and participate in the Lunch with Lawyers program - a discussion group on current events and issues. We also helped form the Adams Street Foundation (ASF), a 501(c)(3) corporation that uses funding from foundations and other sources to provide enrichment programs, summer internships and educational activities for SLJ students. Two of our partners are on the ASF Board.
Also in 2004, we won a landmark decision related to the work-for-hire doctrine for the Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance, a nonprofit corporation established by the famous choreographer.
In late 2006, two teams of Cravath attorneys traveled to Kenya and Mali, respectively, with an ambitious goal: to help the U.N. Millennium Cities Initiative improve the lives of people in sub-Saharan Africa. Eradicating poverty, reducing child mortality and combating HIV/AIDS are just a few of the U.N. Millennium Goals, and Cravath is playing an integral role in this global project by studying the investment climate in three cities—Kisumu, Kenya and Bamako and Segou, Mali. By presenting a comprehensive analysis of the economic and legal conditions in these cities, as well as suggesting reforms, Cravath attorneys hope to encourage foreign investment and improve the living standards of these countries’ citizens.
Through its alliance with inMotion, Cravath represents women in seeking child support and orders of protection.
We also helped create the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, the first Community Development Corporation in the country, and, over 40 years later, we continue to represent this organization. We helped negotiate the lease for the first community court in New York and continue to take on special projects for the Center for Court Innovation.
REPRESENTATIVE PRO BONO CLIENTS AND ALLIANCES