add items to your
binder to email or
print all at once
Items In Binder
Site Lawyers
 

Recent Matters

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.

On March 5, 2014, the United States Supreme Court ruled unanimously in favor of Cravath client, Diana Montoya Alvarez, in an international custody dispute which made new law regarding application of equitable tolling to treaties in general and in particular to the “now settled” defense to a child’s return to her home country under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. Cravath took the case as part of the pro bono work it regularly provides for Sanctuary for Families.

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.

In 2008, Cravath 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.

Through its alliance with Her Justice (formerly 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


A non-profit network of 17 public interest justice centers in the U.S. and Mexico, Appleseed is dedicated to building a society in which opportunities are genuine, access to the law is universal and equal, and government advances the public interest. Appleseed uncovers and corrects injustices and barriers to opportunity through legal, legislative and market-based structural reform. Working with their huge pro bono network, they identify and examine social injustices, make specific recommendations, and advocate for effective solutions to deep-seated structural problems. Together, Appleseed and Appleseed Centers form a network for positive change, building a society that provides each individual access to justice and a genuine opportunity to lead a full and productive life.
Since its founding 45 years ago, Brooklyn’s Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation has been a Cravath pro bono client. BSRC, the nation’s first and arguably most successful community development corporation, was created to strengthen the local economy and culture through a wide variety of programs and services. Either directly or through affiliate organizations, BSRC is involved in the Central Brooklyn community as a lender to small businesses; the owner and developer of residential and commercial real estate; the operator of a theatre and an art gallery; and the sponsor of substantial educational and training programs, including initiatives to create “green” jobs and related infrastructure refurbishment programs. The Firm assists with a variety of tax, litigation and corporate matters, including advising on BSRC’s management structure and helping it create joint ventures.
Founded as a public/private partnership between the New York State Unified Court System and the Fund for the City of New York, the Center for Court Innovation is a non-profit think tank that helps courts and criminal justice agencies aid victims, reduce crime and improve public trust in justice. The Center combines action and reflection to spark problem-solving innovation locally, nationally and internationally.
Opened in 2001, Montefiore’s state-of-the-art children’s hospital is the center of their Child Health Network. This unique approach to children’s health services links the expertise and technology of a world-class hospital—staffed by leading specialists in all areas of pediatrics—with an extensive network of community-based primary care. They are the hospital of choice for children across the New York region and for families across the globe seeking the most advanced medical procedures.
Since 1972, Covenant House has provided assistance to homeless youth in the United States and several other countries, offering them food, shelter, clothing, crisis care, medical care, educational opportunities and a chance for a good start in life. By 1990, it had grown into an $80 million operation. Unfortunately, the organization fell into crisis when the founder was accused of sexual and financial misconduct. At that time, Cravath stepped in to help the organization deal with the ensuing problems and return to the business of helping kids in need. Cravath continues to act as General Counsel to Covenant House, assisting the organization in a variety of matters, including corporate governance issues, litigation, real estate transactions, financings, trusts and estates matters and tax issues.
The Fresh Air Fund has been serving children from New York City’s toughest neighborhoods since 1877 and has provided free summer experiences to more than 1.7 million low income New York City children. Each year, thousands of children visit volunteer host families in 13 states and Canada through the Friendly Town Program or attend one of five Fresh Air Fund camps located in Fishkill, New York.

Cravath participates in the Counselor for a Day program as well as the year-round Career Awareness Program, a moot court program held at our Firm, and the Fresh Air Fund Spring Salute to Heroes, which raises money that the organization uses for its programs throughout the year.
Friends of the High Line is the non-profit group that is working with the City of New York to transform the High Line, an elevated rail viaduct running along Manhattan’s West Side from the Meatpacking District through 34th Street, into a one-of-a-kind public park. Friends of the High Line also maintains and operates the park.

Cravath represents Friends of the High Line on a wide variety of matters, ranging from sponsorship arrangements with corporate donors such as Target and Calvin Klein, to contract negotiations with artists and others that provide media content to the High Line, to general corporate and corporate governance advice.
GSA is a rapidly growing 501(c)(3) organization that sponsors collaboration among K through 12 schools throughout the country to enhance the sustainability and environmental efficiency of their buildings and campuses. GSA runs workshops, competitions and educational events to promote practices such as energy conservation and recycling, focusing on engaging and teaching students about how their day-to-day involvement with their environment can create important benefits.
Cravath lawyers volunteering for Her Justice provide free legal services to low-income women in New York City, primarily in the areas of matrimonial and family law. We participate with Her Justice in programs that train associates and summer associates in areas of law relating to women’s rights and that provide invaluable courtroom experience.
Human Rights First builds respect for human rights and the rule of law to help ensure the dignity to which everyone is entitled and to stem intolerance, tyranny and violence. Human Rights First is a non-profit, nonpartisan international human rights organization based in New York and Washington, D.C.
The Innocence Project is dedicated to exonerating wrongfully convicted people using DNA evidence and preventing future injustice by reforming the criminal justice system. Associates at Cravath assist the Innocence Project with issues such as securing its tax-exempt status and negotiating agreements with vendors.
Over the past five years, Cravath has been advising the Jay Heritage Center (JHC), a not-for-profit organization that is restoring the boyhood home and family estate of Founding Father John Jay, the first Chief Justice- just the one of his many roles in this nation's history. JHC uses the site to teach American history, constitutional law, cultural landscape preservation, architectural restoration and other important subjects. Cravath assisted JHC in its multi-year negotiations with New York State and Westchester County over the restoration of the surrounding 21.5 acres of state and country park land, which had fallen into neglect. After developing the bases for legal claims, filing a notice of claim against the County on behalf of JHC and defending JHC in pre-suit depositions, Cravath helped draft and negotiate a historic agreement, announced at the end of 2012, pursuant to which JHC will take over stewardship of the surrounding Jay Property and restore it to its former glory.
Lawyers Alliance for New York is the leading provider of business and transactional legal services for nonprofit organizations that are improving the quality of life in New York City neighborhoods. Its network of pro bono lawyers from law firms and corporations and staff of experienced attorneys work together, delivering expert corporate, tax, real estate, employment, and other legal services to community organizations. By connecting lawyers, nonprofits, and communities, they help nonprofits to develop affordable housing, stimulate economic development, and operate vital programs for children and young people, the elderly, recent immigrants, and other low-income New Yorkers.
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. The principal mission of the Lawyers’ Committee is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice under law.
The Legal Aid Society is the nation’s oldest and largest provider of legal services to the indigent. Founded in 1876, the Society provides a full range of civil legal services as well as criminal defense work, and juvenile rights representation in Family Court. Its core service is to provide free legal assistance to New Yorkers who live at or below the poverty level and cannot afford to hire a lawyer when confronted with a legal problem.
Since 1884, the Madison Square Boys & Girls Club has been providing after-school and summer programs that help build happy, healthy and productive lives for thousands of New York City’s most vulnerable kids. It does this by providing education, recreation and guidance programs in a safe and nurturing environment that many children consider a second home. A founding member of the Boys & Girls Club of America, Madison currently serves more than 5,000 youth, ages six to eighteen, at seven sites throughout the Bronx and Brooklyn as well as at Camp Madison in Kingston, New York.
Serving pediatric patients from around the world, Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of New York-Presbyterian provides comprehensive care, from diagnosis to recovery, in general pediatrics and in the full range of medical and surgical subspecialties. Their experienced and skilled physicians, surgeons, nurses and other healthcare professionals manage routine and complex medical conditions, as well as address the psychological and family issues that accompany childhood illness.
New York Lawyers for the Public Interest is a nonprofit, civil rights law firm that strives for social justice.
Created in 1988, the Office of the Appellate Defender (OAD) is a not-for-profit firm devoted to providing high-quality representation to indigent persons convicted of felony crimes in Manhattan and the Bronx. OAD’s primary practice is criminal appeals in state court and collateral proceedings in state and federal court. OAD is a unique hybrid—part law firm, part training program—that has built a national reputation for attracting outstanding lawyers and finding innovative ways to serve the poor.
Phoenix House is committed to protecting and supporting individuals, families, and communities affected by substance abuse and dependency. They realize their mission through: a focus on the distinct needs of every person; a holistic approach that seeks to address mental, physical, and social health; the innovation of best-in-class prevention, treatment, and recovery programs; and the promotion of greater understanding of addiction.
Sanctuary for Families is one of the leading nonprofits in New York dedicated exclusively to serving domestic violence victims, sex trafficking victims, and their children. Cravath provides pro bono advocacy and representation for clients of Sanctuary for Families’ Center for Battered Women’s Legal Services. The Center offers legal advice, assistance, and representation in cases involving divorce, child custody/visitation, child and spousal support, immigration and prosecution of batterers in criminal matters.
The United Nations Children’s Fund is one of the world’s leading advocates for children. Most of the work Cravath does for UNICEF is on a pro bono basis, including a recent project in the area of immunization programs. Cravath helped UNICEF develop innovative arrangements for funding vaccines and vaccine-related supplies for children in the world’s poorest countries. These arrangements were developed in collaboration with the GAVI Alliance (formerly The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization), a broad partnership of public and private organizations that promotes immunization programs for children in great need. Cravath associates drafted contracts for UNICEF to act as the procurement agent for multi-year vaccine programs supported by the GAVI Fund and the relevant national governments.
The Urban Assembly School for Law & Justice (SLJ) believes that the success of each student is a community responsibility. Staff, families and partners work together to challenge and support students with a curriculum that respects their right to learn at high levels and with enrichment services that every student deserves. SLJ delivers personal attention in an empowering environment that fosters intellectual independence and civic engagement. Equipped with an understanding of law and social justice, SLJ’s students, most of who come from the city’s historically least served communities, graduate ready to succeed in college and effect change in society.

Cravath has a unique relationship with SLJ. At its inception, we helped the faculty with curriculum planning, course work, mentoring and running moot court sessions. Members of Cravath’s administrative staff provided computer support and training, building logistics, electrical work and graphic design. We continue our relationship with SLJ through a variety of programs: a mock argument based on the 19th century British case concerning three shipwrecked sailors, a moot court focused on First Amendment Establishment Clause issues in a school setting, a tutorial for the mock trial team and SAT preparation.
For 28 years, the Urban Justice Center has served New York City’s most vulnerable residents through a combination of direct legal service, systemic advocacy, community education and political organizing. They assist their clients on numerous levels, from one-on-one legal advice in soup kitchens, to helping individuals access housing and government assistance, to filing class action lawsuits to bring about systemic change.
Since 1969, Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts has been the leading provider of educational and legal services advocacy and mediation to the arts community. As the first arts-related legal aid organization, VLA is the model for similar organizations around the world. VLA delivers legal services and legal information to over 10,000 members of the arts community each year.
Volunteers of Legal Service (VOLS) provides pro bono civil legal services to benefit poor people in New York City. They identify areas of legal need, develop projects to meet these needs and recruit volunteer lawyers and law firms to provide the needed legal services. VOLS serves these vulnerable New York City populations: children; the elderly poor; claimants denied unemployment insurance benefits; incarcerated mothers; persons with HIV/AIDs; and low-income micro entrepreneurs. VOLS also conducts outreach projects to the legal community to promote pro bono participation by lawyers.