On April 17 th NYLAG hosted the 2008 Annual Pro Bono Awards Reception to celebrate the contributions of NYLAG’s pro bono partners and volunteers. Abby S. Milstein, Chair of NYLAG’s Board of Directors, praised the work of the evening’s honorees, saying, “Tonight we are honoring some wonderful individuals and their law firms for their tremendous dedication to making justice equal in New York City. The need for legal services among the low-income and vulnerable is overwhelming: just 20% of the need for free legal services is met. But at NYLAG, pro bono attorneys and volunteers help to close that gap by contributing over 90,000 hours of pro bono legal services each year.”

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP was honored with NYLAG’s Raising the Bar Award for its long history of working with NYLAG on challenging pro bono cases. Attorneys from Skadden have represented victims of domestic violence in complicated and contested child custody trials, helped clients with child support modification proceedings and uncontested divorces, and assisted with the filing of immigration petitions.

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, recipient of the Pro Bono Visionary Award, was honored for dedicating countless pro bono hours to the litigation of a complex case on behalf of 55 low-wage workers who faced unjust labor practices at an upscale Manhattan restaurant, including extensive unpaid overtime and long hours. After the case was filed, the restaurant instituted a campaign of retaliation against workers who had joined the lawsuit in hopes of intimidating these employees and preventing others from joining the lawsuit. Paul, Weiss was able to protect these workers’ rights by successfully obtaining an injunction that forbid further retaliation. We are optimistic that with the help of Paul, Weiss this case will see a very favorable resolution.

A full-time lay volunteer, George Sole, was honored for dedicating his time and talent to NYLAG’s Justice at Work Project. Mr. Sole has been an invaluable asset to NYLAG, and his work in helping low-wage workers secure pay, overtime and other crucial benefits from employers demonstrates his commitment to justice for all. Mr. Sole said that his time at NYLAG has been full of rewards and that, “It was eye-opening to see that I could be a part of making such a fundamental difference in someone’s life.” Discussing the importance of legal services to low-income populations, Lloyd Constantine of Constantine Cannon delivered a keynote address. The evening’s emcee was Jonathan Alter, Senior Editor of Newsweek Magazine.

For information about Pro Bono or volunteer opportunities at NYLAG, contact Alison Sclater, Director of Pro Bono, at [email protected], or at 212. 613.5017.