- What Sets Us Apart
- Value Proposition
- What Others Say
- Pro Bono & Community Outreach
- Where We've Been
Olshan joins Lee® Jeans and the American Cancer Society during the month of October in the movement to rise above breast cancer by donating as a team and wearing jeans in the workplace.
Pro Bono & Community Outreach
The success of our pro bono program derives from the dedication of our lawyers and staff and the support given to these program by the firm’s management. Olshan not only encourages participation in pro bono work generally, but also specifically recognizes outstanding individual pro bono achievements. We want Olshan people to invest their time and energy in causes they are passionate about that also maximize their potential
- “There is something tremendously rewarding about contributing expertise to help a non-profit start a new facility which will help thousands of New Yorkers.”
Thomas D. Kearns, Partner
- “I believe that it is the obligation of every lawyer to perform pro bono work. There are incidental benefits—clients tend to be very appreciative, and it provides me with an opportunity to deal with a new set of legal issues. However, the obligation is independent of those benefits.”
Barry L. Salkin, Of Counsel
Public Service Program of the New York City Law Department
Representative Pro Bono Matters
- Filed an amicus curiae brief in the United States Supreme Court in the case of Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin (commonly called “Fisher II”), in support of Respondent University of Texas and on behalf of the California Institute of Technology, Carnegie Mellon University, Case Western Reserve University, Emory University, George Washington University, Northwestern University, Rice University, Tulane University, University of Rochester and Washington University in St. Louis. The brief argues that the clients' use of race as one factor in their overall individualized assessment of college applicants is necessary and beneficial to maintain sufficient diversity to meet the high level of excellence these institutions require. Furthermore, it argues that racial diversity is a compelling objective for educational institutions and that the universities' holistic admissions processes are narrowly tailored to meet this compelling objective.
- Successfully represented pro bono client, a Vietnam-era veteran referred to the Firm by the Connecticut Veterans Legal Center (CVLC), a non-profit organization serving the legal needs of veterans, in receiving an absolute pardon. Our argument before the Connecticut Pardons Board was that post-traumatic stress disorder, alcoholism and homelessness were factors that led to the client’s decades-old trespassing conviction and that notwithstanding the client’s completion of an alcohol rehabilitation program and willingness to work, he was denied profitable jobs due to the everlasting effects of his prior convictions, revealed through background checks. These arguments persuaded the Pardons Board to award the client a full pardon.
- Representing pro bono client Beagle Freedom Project, a national laboratory animal advocacy organization, and one of its supporters, Melissa Andrews, in conjunction with filing a petition in the Supreme Court, Suffolk County against the State University of New York at Stony Brook. The lawsuit seeks to have Stony Brook provide information relating to “Quinn,” a dog currently being held or used by Stony Brook University for animal testing and research. The lawsuit is brought pursuant to Article 78 and the New York State Freedom of Information Law (FOIL), alleging that the school did not provide the same documents that other publicly-funded schools had provided under similar FOIL requests, and wrongly redacted parts of the documents that it did provide.
- Successfully represented pro bono client in appeal to the Appellate Division, First Department in conjunction with the Office of the Appellate Defender. Client was vindicated when awarded a rare reversal of his criminal conviction for possessing a weapon in the second degree, for which he was sentenced to 20 years to life. On appeal, argued that the trial court had deprived client of his Sixth Amendment right to counsel by discharging his appointed counsel, whom client wanted to remain, over an alleged conflict of interest. Four of five appellate judges agreed that there was no conflict and voted to vacate the conviction and remand for a new trial. The full decision can be read here.
- Represented the Lower East Side Tenement Museum on the purchase of a five-story building located in lower Manhattan for $7,000,000. The Museum will use the building to expand its exhibitions of urban immigrant history. The Museum hosts tours of restored apartments that were once the homes of urban working class and poor immigrants in the United States during the 19th and 20th centuries.
- Represented the New York City Partnership Foundation Inc., an affiliate of the Partnership for New York City, on a bridge loan for the development of a Senior Center on Staten Island by The Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, a non-profit social services organization, which is calling the center the first affordable housing complex of its kind in the city.
- Represented, for the past seven years, a small New York not-for-profit against challenges from the Charities Bureau of the New York State Attorney General’s office seeking to dissolve it and from the Internal Revenue Service seeking retroactively to revoke its tax-exempt status.
- Advised the Pro Bono Partnership on HIPAA privacy and security issues, as well as annually updating the employee benefits chapter of its general guidance for small not-for-profit organizations in the metropolitan area.
- Assisted a for-profit New Jersey dance school in converting to a tax exempt not-for -profit organization.
- Participate actively as pro bono mediators in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York’s mediation program. Olshan attorneys who are accredited mediators participate in approximately three mediations per year of cases from the SDNY docket, many of which involve actions pursuant to 42 USC § 1983 for deprivation of civil rights. The goal of each mediation is to achieve a consensual settlement of the action, thereby conserving resources for both the parties and the Court by avoiding full blown litigation.
- Partnered with the Office of the Appellate Defender, New York’s longest-standing institutional indigent defense office, to represent indigent persons in all aspects of direct appeals of felony convictions to the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, including identification and research of appellate issues, preparation of briefs on appeal, and oral argument before the Appellate Division.
Contributing to our community is a big part of what Olshan is about, and we are grateful and honored to be able to make a difference. Firm activities include:
- Partnering with New York Cares and participate in their annual coat drive, in an effort to collect and distribute gently used or new coats during the winter season to those who are less fortunate.
- Olshan is an enthusiastic supporter of Big Brothers Big Sisters of NYC, the leading mentoring organization for underprivileged children in New York. Olshan participates in the Race for the Kids, which promotes the importance of health and exercise, as well as the Ping Pong Tournament and the Annual Dinner. We employ a little brother or sister each summer, and one of our partners serves on the Board of Trustees.
- Participated in a nationwide 'Wear Red Day' in an effort to support the American Heart Association's Go Red movement. It is a program selected to bring awareness to heart disease and its impact not only on woman, but men as well, and raises necessary funds for vital research and education.
- Joining Lee® Jeans and the American Cancer Society during the month of October in the movement to rise above breast cancer by donating as a team and wearing jeans in the workplace.
- Participating in Jeans for Wishes charitable campaign and fundraiser for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Donations go towards granting the wishes of children with serious medical conditions in the five boroughs, Nassau County and Western New York.
- Supporting Joan’s Legacy: Uniting Against Lung Cancer, one of the leading sources of funding for lung cancer research in the country.
- Joining inMotion’s Story by Story annual stair climb to end domestic violence by climbing 43 stories of the 245 Park Avenue skyscraper, and thereby raising vital financial support and awareness. InMotion offers hope to low-income women who need free legal services in matrimonial, family and immigration law, particularly those who have suffered from domestic violence.
- Supporting NVRQT in its efforts to raise money and awareness for the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation. Short for never quit, NVRQT endeavors to support children in their battle against cancer and inspire researchers working towards a cure. www.nvrqt.org
- Partnering with Operation Backpack, Volunteers of America, School Supplies Drive, to help ensure that every child in the New York City shelter system has a new backpack filled with grade-appropriate supplies at the start of each school year.
- Participating in Winter Wishes, a yearly program that aims to grant the holiday wishes of thousands of disadvantaged children, teens, and families from shelters and community organizations throughout New York City.
- Assisting Stop Hunger Now’s school feeding program, recognized as a viable solution to combat hunger among the world’s most impoverished. Olshan’s 40 volunteers used a fun, engaging assembly line process to package 10,008 meals in just two hours. www.stophungernow.org. “What could be better than having fun, doing good and sharing the experience with friends and colleagues all at the same time.” Steve Gursky, Partner
- Partner Warren Gleicher serves as the Chairman of Board of the American Society of the University of Haifa.