January 5, 2022

Willkie attorneys were recognized for making “a difference in the lives” of young adults preparing to exit foster care.

On January 3, New York State Chief Judge Janet DiFiore highlighted Willkie’s groundbreaking pro bono foster care mentoring program in her report on the judiciary.

Chief Judge DiFiore commended the success of the mentoring program Willkie helped launch in September 2018 with client Marsh & McLennan to empower individuals aging out of foster care – and noted the life-changing impact made by the firm’s volunteer attorneys, led by partner Mitchell Auslander.

“The volunteer mentors in this program from the law firm of Willkie Farr & Gallagher and the consulting firm of Marsh & McLennan have generously devoted hundreds of hours to help young people set positive goals for the future, make healthy life choices, acquire essential skills and education, and build confidence and self-esteem,” Chief Judge DiFiore said. “And during the long and difficult months of the pandemic, their encouragement and support of these young people made an enormous difference in keeping them on a positive trajectory.”

Chief Judge DiFiore noted how the young adults in the program are building a brighter future, obtaining GEDs and Associate Degrees, enrolling in college and securing jobs.

Willkie has had an integral role in the mentoring program, launched in partnership with the New York City Family Court and the New York County Family Court. The program pairs volunteer attorneys from Willkie and Marsh & McLennan to serve as mentors to young adults in foster care and provide guidance as they age out of the foster care system.

Chief Judge DiFiore said in her message to the judiciary that she hopes to expand the program statewide, noting that the model was recently adopted by the Monroe County Family Court.