We work closely with a number of legal services organizations that link lawyers to needy individuals and institutions serving the disadvantaged. We also have an active practice representing asylum seekers and other persons with complex immigration problems. Among these organizations are:
- The Legal Aid Society
- Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts
- Her Justice (formerly inMotion)
- MFY Legal Services
- The Innocence Project
- New York City Bar Association Refugee Assistance Program
- New York State Mentoring Program
Additionally, we act as general counsel to a number of organizations providing services for the poor, including Women in Need and City Harvest.
In the three years following the World Trade Center attacks, our lawyers devoted thousands of hours to the assistance of WTC victims, obtaining monetary compensation for eligible clients and providing advice on bankruptcy and trusts and estates matters.
Our London office was recently named a legal partner for Advocates for International Development (A4ID). Through A4ID, Willkie provides pro bono legal advice to clients in development organizations and other sectors working towards poverty eradication and sustainable development.
We have also worked on a number of major special projects and litigations, including:
- our representation of an Iranian child and her mother, resulting in the child’s entry into the U.S. to undergo vital eye surgery following President Trump’s Executive Order barring entry by Iranian nationals;
- our work, in collaboration with Bloomberg, on more than a dozen clemency petitions as part of the Clemency Project 2014, an initiative addressing the large number of federal prisoners who, if sentenced today under current sentencing laws and policies, would likely have received a substantially lower sentence for their nonviolent crimes;
- our representation of Habitat for Humanity, on a completely pro bono basis, in the securitization of mortgages to raise millions of dollars for the construction of new homes for the needy;
- our service, pro bono, as one of the principal outside counsel for Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts;
- our filing of an amicus brief on behalf of 12 organizations in Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole, a high-profile abortion rights case before the United States Supreme Court;
- our filing of amicus briefs in the Second Circuit and Supreme Court on behalf of a detainee charged with terrorist-related crimes in United States v. Padilla;
- our work on behalf of the Sylvia Rivera Law Project’s Medicaid campaign, which is striving to provide healthcare access to low-income transgender New Yorkers;
- our representation of 92 amicus plaintiffs from 15 states in a case before the United States Supreme Court, regarding the constitutionality of state bans on same-sex marriage; and
- serving as counsel for the Innocence Project, which is acting as an amicus curiae in a lethal injection case before the United States Supreme Court.
Finally, many of our lawyers have spent large portions of their careers in various areas of public service, including one as Governor of New York, one as United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, one as President of the Bar Association of the City of New York, and numerous others in various departments of government. One of our former partners, Chester J. Straub, serves on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, while another is a bankruptcy judge in the Eastern District of New York. In short, we have a long history of commitment to and investment in the many spheres of public interest work.