General

Proskauer is proud to represent Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors d/b/a UNITE, a non-profit collaborative started by Special Olympics Chairman Tim Shriver, as pro bono counsel in connection with the planning and production of “The Call to Unite,” a 24-hour livestreaming event beginning on Friday, May 1 at 8 p.m. EDT. Mr. Shriver is leading the event, which will feature Oprah Winfrey, Presidents William J. Clinton and George W. Bush, Deepak Chopra, and a multitude of other guests.

Given the challenges facing people across the globe from the Covid-19 pandemic, Mr. Shriver sought a way to come together and create a much-needed “bear hug” for humanity. The Call to Unite will be a 24/7 livestreaming event that encourages people to huddle around the screen to watch spiritual, cultural, and civic leaders, and performers, and to join them in unity and solidarity to face the pandemic together. The organizers of this event hope to recalibrate viewers’ moods and encourage them to engage with their communities and make donations to help those in need.

COVID-19 has presented us with unprecedented challenges around the globe. We wish everyone good health.

Our Firm remains committed to the many students we work with on a regular basis through our CSR programs. Although the virus has made it impossible to continue our face-to-face mentoring, we are connecting through webinars, phone and online meetings.

Most recently, we were able to virtually host a class with John Jay College students on the topic of law and social justice. Our pro bono partner, Bill Silverman, led the videoconference, and we had wonderful attendance and participation as we discussed the need for criminal justice reform during the COVID crisis. Students shared thoughts about measures we need to take to ensure safety in our prisons; our strong consensus was that prisoners with medical conditions who do not pose a threat to public safety should be released.

To consider the great need, among people of limited means, for civil legal services during the COVID-19 crisis, a good starting point is where we were before the crisis started.  In short, civil legal resources for the poor in the United States are woefully inadequate.  According to the Legal Services Corporation, which documents the justice gap in America, between 62% and 72% of civil legal needs among low-income Americans are addressed inadequately or not at all.  Indeed, the United States fares very poorly in this regard when compared to other western democracies.

The current health crisis would be devastating under any circumstances but, from a legal standpoint, this crisis has laid bare the long-term challenges we face.