Gibson Dunn | Pro Bono

Pro Bono

October 14, 2015

CAIR Coalition Awards Gibson Dunn 2015 Law Firm of the Year

​On October 14, 2015, the Capital Area Immigrants' Rights (CAIR) Coalition publicly recognized Gibson Dunn as the organization's 2015 Law Firm of the Year, because of the number of matters the firm has successfully handled for CAIR clients over the last year.
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October 28, 2014

Gibson Dunn Honored as Pro Bono Law Firm of the Year in the IFLR Middle East Awards

​Gibson Dunn's Dubai office continues to be heavily involved in the Holy Trinity Church's Pro Bono Advice Clinic in Oud Metha, Dubai. The first of its kind in the region, the clinic offers individuals experiencing a broad range of legal problems the opportunity to obtain free legal advice from the clinic's volunteers. The firm's groundbreaking work with the clinic was recently recognized at the Corporate Counsel Middle East Awards, where it won the Group Achievement Award. Gibson Dunn was also recently recognized as Pro Bono Law Firm of the Year in the International Financial Law Review Middle East Awards in respect of its work on the clinic. The volunteers at the clinic take a very proactive approach, often going beyond the scheduled monthly sessions, to assist individuals in a range of ways from free legal representation in court to negotiating with third parties to settle debt claims. Other recent examples include re-housing a South African family, regularizing visa statuses of individuals to help them avoid deportation and assisting domestic servants who find themselves in abusive situations. The clinic has gone from strength to strength over the last year. As a signal of how well the clinic has been received by the community in Dubai, the clinic is expanding to open another base in Abu Dhabi - a project spearheaded by Gibson Dunn partner Richard Ernest. The clinic has also reached out to local law firms to further its capability in local law. For example, one of the top local law firms has agreed to update the information sheets that the clinic provides to volunteers to give them basic information on Dubai's legal and regulatory systems. Future plans for the clinic include the development of a website, as well as closer collaboration with a number of local associations such as the Association of Corporate Counsel.
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October 8, 2014

Gibson Dunn Named as Law 360 Pro Bono Firm of the Year for the Third Consecutive Year

​Earlier this month, Gibson Dunn was named by Law360 as one of the Pro Bono Firms of the Year for 2014. Law360's Pro Bono Firms of the Year profiles the firms that had the biggest wins for clients in pro bono matters over the course of the year. Winning firms must also show a strong firmwide commitment to pro bono work. As the publication noted, "Gibson Dunn attorneys dedicated a substantial portion of their workload over the past year to a slew of advocacy-based litigation, tackling cases centering on human trafficking, government oversight and religious freedom issues, and securing the firm's status as one of Law360's top shops for pro bono work. Buttressing the firm's third consecutive appearance among Law360's pro bono elite were the 129,575 pro bono hours logged among its roughly 971 U.S.-based attorneys, which amounted to an average of 133 hours per attorney. That rate places many of Gibson Dunn's lawyers well ahead of the 60-hour minimum enshrined in the Pro Bono Institute's Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge, to which the firm is a signatory." The firm is very proud of its accomplishments over this last year. To review the full article:  Click Here
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October 8, 2014

Gibson Dunn Attorneys Honored with Legal Aid 2014 Pro Bono Publico Award

​In a ceremony on October 8, 2014, Gibson Dunn was honored with the Legal Aid 2014 Pro Bono Publico Award for providing excellent legal services to low-income New Yorkers. Members of Gibson Dunn's "D-SNAP Team" were awarded for a second consecutive year for their representation of disabled New Yorkers in a suit to obtain disaster food stamp benefits (so-called "D-SNAP" benefits) that those individuals were unable to apply for in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The essence of the complaint is that the program violated city, state, and federal anti-discrimination laws by failing to provide disabled applicants with reasonable accommodations (such as permitting them to apply by phone or conducting home visits). The amended complaint names city, state, and federal agencies and their officials as defendants. After successfully obtaining the denial of the City's and State's motions to dismiss last year, Gibson Dunn this year led briefing in opposition to motions for judgment on the pleadings, in addition to briefing several other substantive motions to keep the Federal Government in the case. At the same time, the D-SNAP Team spearheaded an intensive discovery effort, reviewing tens of thousands of documents, issuing interrogatories, and taking depositions. The State and Federal Government have already issued new policies constituting a great deal of the prospective relief being sought in the case. D-SNAP Team members who will be honored at the ceremony include: Randy Mastro, Goutam Jois, Eric Yuen, Christine Demana, Seth Rokosky, David Crowley-Buck, Christian Hudson, Alyssa Kuhn, Genny Ngai, and former associate Ben Mishkin. The Legal Aid Society also honored Gibson Dunn attorneys representing the plaintiffs in De Ping Song, et al. v. 47 Old Country Road, et al. For the past two years, Gibson Dunn has joined the Legal Aid Society to fight for plaintiffs, six Chinese immigrants who were exploited by their employers, the defendant owners of multiple nail salons on Long Island. In March 2012, following a jury trial conducted by Legal Aid, a federal jury awarded our clients a nearly half-million dollar judgment as a result of defendants' illegal wage practices. Legal Aid approached Gibson Dunn to assist with the difficult matter of judgment collection. The defendant employers proceeded to sell their homes and businesses, flee the country, file fraudulent bankruptcies, obstruct court orders, and otherwise evade the judgment. Through motion practice, depositions, and numerous hearings in the United States District Court and the United States Bankruptcy Court, the Gibson Dunn team worked tirelessly to track down Defendants and their assets. And during this past year, the team's efforts have begun to paid off. The team has secured financial settlements with several third-party creditors and successors to the defendants, resulting in our clients' receipt of $60,000 and expected receipt of an additional $54,000 soon. toward the outstanding judgment. The Legal Aid Society and Gibson Dunn will continue to work on behalf of our clients until they receive the entire judgment they are owed under the law. Members of this team honored at the ceremony were: Richard Mark, Matthew Benjamin, Lisa Umans, Yi Sun, Shira Weiner and former Gibson Dunn associates Michelle Katz and Will Han. Finally, Paul Kremer was honored for his work on behalf of a disabled husband and his wife in a termination of benefits proceeding before the NYC Housing Authority in which he obtained dismissal of the proceeding based on showing that NYCHA had sought to terminate benefits based on the client's refusal to move to housing that did not reasonably accommodate his disabilities.
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May 28, 2014

Gibson Dunn Wins Immigration Equality 2014 Safe Haven Award

On May 28, 2014, Gibson Dunn was awarded Immigration Equality's annual Safe Haven Award, which recognizes the law firm that has excelled in its legal representation of pro bono clients over the past year. Immigration Equality works with gay, lesbian, bisexual and HIV-positive asylum seekers throughout the United States. Since September 2013, Gibson Dunn has worked on Immigration Equality matters in many of our domestic offices including: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and New York. The firm is proud of the work we have been able to do serving these clients.  And, we are grateful to have already secured asylum for several of our clients.  A few examples of these matters are included below.  New York partner Joel Cohen and New York associate Jonathan Seibald recently secured asylum for a Jamaican client who had received death threats based on his sexual orientation. In 2013, after it became public in his hometown that the client had been expelled from theological college because he was gay, he began receiving numerous death threats from relatives and other members of his community. Our client was forced to flee his hometown, living for short periods of time with friends throughout Jamaica while attempting to avoid his relatives discovering his location. Eventually, our client decided to flee to the United States. Gibson Dunn applied for asylum on his behalf and represented him in an asylum interview before the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS"). On July 22, 2014, USCIS granted our client asylum, permitting him to live and work legally in the United States. In addition, Gibson Dunn recently aided the petition for political asylum filed by a 23 year old male from the Dominican Republic.  Our client suffered from discriminatory treatment and abuse due to widespread intolerance of gays in the Dominican Republic.  Despite not speaking any English, he fled for the United States in February 2012.  After arriving, our client began to suffer from severe physical and mental health disorders, which caused him to miss the 1 year filing deadline for asylum claims.  Nonetheless, after Gibson Dunn quickly assembled and submitted the required materials, the Asylum office determined that our client qualified for the extraordinary circumstances exception to the 1 year filing deadline, and granted our client asylum.  He is currently employed, and enrolled in ESL classes, with an aim to integrate fully into American society.  Immigration Equality referred this client to Gibson Dunn.  The client was represented by Nader James Khorassani, with supervision by Georgia Winston.
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February 6, 2014

Gibson Dunn Announces Annual Pro Bono Award Winners

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP is pleased to announce the winners of the firm’s annual team and individual Frank Wheat Memorial Awards.  The Frank Wheat Award is given every year to lawyers in the firm who obtain significant results for their pro bono clients and demonstrate leadership and initiative that serve as inspiration to others. This year, the team award is presented to lawyers in Gibson Dunn’s New York office for their work with the Urban Justice Center to reach a settlement with the Social Security Administration that will provide benefits to more than 4,000 indigent and disabled New Yorkers.  The individual award is presented to New York associate Kate Driscoll for her involvement in an ongoing case aimed at preventing the unlawful closure of the Long Island College Hospital in Brooklyn, and for her work spearheading the planning and coordination of the Legal Outreach summer internship Program, which prepares urban youth from underserved communities in New York City to compete at high academic levels.“In 2013, our lawyers handled a wide variety of pro bono matters,” said Ken Doran, Chairman and Managing Partner of Gibson Dunn.  “We are pleased to recognize their exceptional work and dedication to pro bono with the 2013 Frank Wheat Awards.”“We are proud and inspired by our attorneys’ accomplishments,” said Scott Edelman, Chair of Gibson Dunn’s Pro Bono Committee.  “Whether litigating a groundbreaking class action to properly award social security benefits to disabled New Yorkers or successfully combating the closure of a long-standing public hospital, our lawyers have provided first-rate legal representation and obtained significant results for our pro bono clients.” About the Team Award Project - Padro v. AstrueOne of Gibson Dunn’s notable pro bono projects in 2013 was an innovative challenge to what appeared to be the improper and systematic denial of social security benefits to deserving claimants in the New York area. After analyzing the denials, Gibson Dunn and the Urban Justice Center’s Mental Health Project filed a class action lawsuit that alleged that five administrative law judges, located in the Queens Office of Disability Adjudication and Review, were systematically biased against claimants for disability benefits, and repeatedly violated settled law in order to avoid awarding benefits.  The five named judges were among the highest claims deniers nationally and had staggering reversal rates:  more than 80% of their cases were reversed on appeal.  On October 18, 2013, U.S. District Judge Carol Bagley Amon in the Eastern District of New York issued a decision and order approving the terms of a groundbreaking settlement agreement that provides relief to thousands of disabled New Yorkers who were denied full and fair hearings on their claims for Social Security Disability benefits by the five judges in question. The settlement agreement, which was approved by the Social Security Administration, ensures new hearings for at least 4,000 claimants, and also provides for retraining, recertification, and monitoring of the five administrative law judges.  Judge Amon’s approval followed fairness hearings held on July 24, 2013, and September 16, 2013, at which numerous potential class members addressed the court in support of the settlement. New York partner Jim Walden and associates Oliver Olanoff, Adam Jantzi and Karin Reiss led the team, and were assisted by associates Tyler Amass, Sharon Grysman, Daniel Harris, William Moriarty and Kyle Kolb.  About the Individual Award Project – Kate DriscollDriscoll is a key member of the Gibson Dunn team that is fighting to preserve a hospital of great importance to the Brooklyn community – Long Island College Hospital (LICH).  Driscoll was involved in the briefing to obtain several temporary restraining orders on behalf of the Office of the Public Advocate of New York City as well as six Brooklyn community associations to prevent the immediate closure of LICH.  She also made a presentation to the U.S. Attorney’s office regarding potential federal criminal violations.  In September 2013, Justice Johnny Lee Baynes of the New York Supreme Court issued a decision substantially denying the State University of New York’s (SUNY) motion to dismiss the petition and finding in favor of Gibson Dunn’s position, holding that both SUNY’s closure plan and the New York State Department of Health’s approval of that plan to be unlawful. SUNY is now appealing Justice Baynes’s decision in the Appellate Division, where Gibson Dunn will continue to oppose SUNY.  Currently, there is a contempt hearing scheduled for February 11, to prove that SUNY acted in willful violation of court orders, in which Driscoll is involved in witness preparation and drafting legal arguments to prove contempt.  Driscoll is a crucial member of the Gibson Dunn team that is continuing to litigate in all the relevant courts to preserve a hospital of great importance to the Brooklyn community and to ensure that SUNY and the State Department of Health obey the law.Additionally, Driscoll was honored by the firm for spearheading the Legal Outreach Program, in which she has organized and implemented a week-long internship program for the past two summers.  The program immerses New York City youth from underserved communities in intensive legal and educational programs with the goal of giving them the tools to compete at high academic levels and pursue higher education.  This past summer, Driscoll organized a mock negotiation and a presentation exercise, in which the students were videotaped and given feedback on their presentation skills and oral advocacy.  Driscoll organized sessions for the interns to meet with associates, partners, and other professionals at the firm to learn more about the life of a Gibson Dunn lawyer.  In addition, she coordinated a number of experiences outside of the office, including meeting with the General Counsel of the New York Public Library for a private tour. About the Frank Wheat AwardThe award is named for the late Frank Wheat, a Gibson Dunn partner who was deeply committed to community service and pro bono work.  A recognized leader in corporate transactions, Wheat served as a commissioner of the Securities Exchange Commission and as president of the Los Angeles County Bar.  He also founded the Alliance for Children’s Rights and served as founder and trustee of the Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund, a leader of the Sierra Club, and a board member of the Center of Law in the Public Interest, which established a fellowship in his name to train young lawyers in public interest litigation.  The award recipients receive $2,500 to be donated to a pro bono organization of their choice.
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