Pro Bono Representation Assists Communities and Worthy Causes
Law firms use their expertise to help those in need .
Compiled by John Joseph Parker Contributing Editor
Many people and organizations lack the financial resources to hire attorneys , even though they need their help . That ’ s why pro bono representation is so important — vital to so many communities and worthy causes . Here are some examples .
Chiesa Shahinian & Giantomasi PC By Daniel A . Schwartz , Esq ., Managing Member
48 COMMERCE www . commercemagnj . com
CSG has a longstanding commitment to pro bono involvement and has been honored to support the missions of many of the state ’ s most well-deserving organizations . A particularly notable ongoing engagement has been for Girls on the Run New Jersey East , a youth development program for third- to eighth-grade girls that uses running as a platform to instill life skills and promote holistic health outcomes . Lindsay Dischley , a Member with our Employment Group and a GOTR NJE Executive Board Member for the past six years , has led our involvement with the rapidly growing organization . GOTR NJE has doubled its employee infrastructure to serve more girls in New Jersey across its five-county footprint , and CSG ’ s counsel has enabled this scale-up by ensuring that the organization is well-positioned to continuously attract and retain high-quality staff in a competitive hiring market for nonprofits . This past year in particular , CSG has helped GOTR navigate the pandemic in a variety of ways , including assisting with employee relations , honing cybersecurity policies and incident response plans , and advising on contractual issues as they arise . By providing legal counsel at no cost , CSG has empowered GOTR NJE to focus its resources on funding its critical programming , and thus make an impact on the lives of more girls in our local communities .
Gibbons P . C . By Patrick C . Dunican Jr ., Esq ., Chairman and Managing Director
Led by the Gibbons Diversity Initiative and the Gibbons Cares pro bono program , Gibbons launched a new pro bono effort in 2020 in conjunction with the firm ’ s first Juneteenth holiday commemoration . The initiative is a partnership with the Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership ( IFEL ) in its “ Small Businesses Need Us ” program to assist women and minority small business owners impacted by the COVID‐19
Girls on the Run New Jersey East uses running to instill life skills and promote holistic health .
Photo : Getty Images / iStockphoto pandemic . IFEL created Small Businesses Need Us in response to the struggle many small businesses are facing due to the COVID‐19 pandemic and its related business shutdowns and slowdowns . The program aims to mobilize and activate professionals throughout the business community to pool their experience to help small businesses survive and recover from the impact of COVID‐19 . Through the initiative , volunteers with various specialties required for day-to-day business operations , including legal service providers , are organized into cross-functional teams and matched with participating small businesses based on those organizations ’ specific needs . Gibbons attorneys have the opportunity to assist various small women- and minority-owned enterprises on a pro bono basis in a wide range of legal practice areas , including corporate , employment , real estate , intellectual property , and data privacy and security , among other types of legal services these businesses may need .
Riker Danzig Scherer Hyland & Perretti LLP By Michael R . O ’ Donnell , Esq ., Co-Managing Partner
Riker Danzig provided pro bono legal support to Matriark Foods , which received a grant from ReFED and partnered with a community food rescue organization during the COVID‐19 pandemic to rescue and upcycle food that otherwise would have gone to waste and then to distribute it to food-insecure individuals in New Jersey . Matriark Foods works with farmers and aggregators to make use of the 40 % of vegetables that would otherwise go to waste in the fields . They also work with food service providers to utilize the hundreds of thousands of pounds of freshcut remnants from food preparations . The project rescued 620,000 pounds of food — and the equivalent of more than 500,000 meals — over a 90-day period . If this food had been disposed of rather than rescued and upcycled , it would have generated greenhouse gases in excess of 20,000 metric tons of CO 2 equivalent . In addition there were significant greenhouse gas emissions reductions associated with rescuing the food for human consumption . Riker Danzig advised on insurance and contracting issues relating to the project , and provided counsel on the novel legal issue of whether liability protections for donated food extend to upcycled food .