“We view pro bono service as a necessary component of our practice of law, and all of our lawyers are expected to spend time providing pro bono legal services to those in need. It is very much who we are as a firm.”—Michelle Pallak, Pro Bono Partner
Our lawyers dedicate tens of thousands of hours annually to providing pro bono services in every area of unmet legal need. We are honored to have received the American Bar Association’s 2019 Pro Bono Publico Award, which is a testament to our lawyers’ exceptional commitment to low-income and otherwise marginalized people and communities.
Our lawyers take on high-impact cases and projects aimed at ensuring everyone has access to justice.
We are deeply engaged in working on housing and homelessness. We have conducted wide-ranging surveys of laws affecting people experiencing homelessness, and we have litigated multiple cases challenging on constitutional grounds laws that restrict their rights.
Our lawyers have long engaged in pro bono representation of tenants facing eviction. In 2018, we created the Pro Bono Fellowship for the City of Newark, a full-time attorney position designed to assist the overwhelming number of low-income tenants facing eviction without access to counsel.
“We believe that this fellowship is one of the only pro bono positions in the country that has a geographical focus. Rather than limiting ourselves to a particular area of law, we are serving the legal needs of the residents of Newark more broadly.”—Robert Mintz, Newark Office Managing Partner
We filed the first case brought under New Jersey’s Human Trafficking Prevention, Protection, and Treatment Act, setting an important precedent for victims of human trafficking throughout the state. Our client had been lured into the sex trade by one of the most notorious sex traffickers in the country. We successfully petitioned the court to vacate her offenses and order her fines refunded, freeing her to move forward with a clean slate.
Our team won the first appellate affirmance of a restraining order protecting a sexual assault victim under New Jersey’s Sexual Assault Survivor Protection Act, which allows courts to issue restraining orders in cases of sexual assault that do not involve a family or dating relationship.
Our lawyers pioneered the use of the Costs of Care Act in Pennsylvania to protect animals that have suffered abuse and/or neglect. The act requires the owner to pay costs of care to the seizing authority, which paves the way for the animals to be adopted into loving homes. We have helped animal welfare organizations recover hundreds of neglected animals from horrific conditions, including a hoarding case in which 31 cats and five parrots were rescued from unsafe and unsanitary conditions.
We are committed to assisting nonprofits and participating in community economic development. We assist low-income entrepreneurs with matters ranging from entity formation to intellectual property and employment law. This free legal aid enables entrepreneurs to create thriving businesses in underserved areas so they can support their families and communities.
We build out our resources in response to our communities’ most urgent legal needs.
McCarter has a long history of representing adults and children seeking refuge in the United States, and we are proud to have received the Immigration Equality Safe Haven Award in 2017. Our lawyers are regularly called on to represent people held in immigration detention at the appellate level, in addition to our extremely active immigration practice. Building on our work in this area, we have begun sending teams of partners to serve people held in remote immigration detention facilities in rural Georgia, and we are committed to continuing our work in underserved detention facilities throughout McCarter’s footprint.
Lawyers across all our offices are honored to represent veterans at in their disability claims and appeals, in addition to discharge upgrades and a range of their community reintegration needs. This helps break the cycle of chronic homelessness among veterans and improves their access to the benefits that they deserve.