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Ethical Issues in Pro Bono Representation 2020

Speaker(s): Cyrus D. Mehta, Jerri Shick, Maurice Segall, Peter A. Kempner, Randye Retkin, Sidney Cherubin
Recorded on: Dec. 10, 2020
PLI Program #: 274387

Cyrus D. Mehta, a graduate of Cambridge University and Columbia Law School, is the Managing Partner of Cyrus D. Mehta & Partners PLLC in New York City.

Mr. Mehta is an active member of the American Immigration Lawyer’s Association   (AILA) where he currently serves as the Vice Chair of its  Ethics Committee overseeing the publication of the multi-volume AILA Ethics Compendium. Mr. Mehta is on the  editorial board of the AILA Law Journal and Bender’s Immigration Bulletin. He is a board member of The New York Immigration Coalition and a board member of Volunteers of Legal Services. He is also special counsel on immigration matters to the Departmental Disciplinary Committee, Appellate Division, First Department, New York.

Mr. Mehta was formerly a member of AILA’s Administrative Litigation Task Force; AILA’s FOIA Strategy Committee; AILA’ s EB-5 Committee, former chair  AILA’s Ethics Committee; former chair of the Board of Trustees of the American Immigration Council and former chair of the Committee on Immigration and Nationality Law of the New York City Bar Association.

Mr. Mehta  is a frequent speaker and writer on various immigration-related issues, including on ethics, and is also an adjunct professor of law at Brooklyn Law School, where he teaches a course entitled Immigration and Work. He has also been Chair of the Practising Law Institute’s annual Basic Immigration Law program and the companion Asylum, Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, Crime Victim, and Other Immigration Relief program for several years.

Mr. Mehta received the AILA 2018 Edith Lowenstein Memorial Award for advancing the practice of immigration law and the AILA 2011 Michael Maggio Memorial Award for his outstanding efforts in providing pro bono representation in the immigration field. He has also received three AILA Presidential Commendations in 2010, 2016 and 2020.  Mr. Mehta is ranked highly by Who’s Who Legal – Corporate Immigration Law and also by Chambers USA and Chambers Global in immigration law, among other rankings.

Jerri Shick is the Pro Bono Counsel at O’Melveny & Myers LLP, managing the Firm’s pro bono program.  In this role, she maintains relationships with various public interest legal services organizations, assists attorneys in obtaining new pro bono matters, manages large-scale pro bono projects, and develops innovative pro bono skills training programs, among other responsibilities.

Jerri is on the board of the Association of Pro Bono Counsel (APBCo).  She is also a member of the Federal Bar Council Public Service Committee and the Advisory Committee of Bet Tzedek’s Holocaust Survivors’ Justice Network.  In addition, Jerri serves on several internal firm committees, including the Community Legal Services Committee, the Racial Justice Committee, and the Women’s Employee Network in New York.

Jerri was honored by the New York Law Journal as a “Lawyer Who Leads By Example” for Pro Bono in 2014. She was also recognized as the 2010 Volunteer Attorney of the Year by Bet Tzedek Legal Services for managing the Holocaust Survivors Justice Network in New York. In 2006, she received the O’Melveny & Myers Values Award, an award founded by Warren Christopher that is given to two of the firm’s associates/counsel who exemplify the firm’s values of excellence, leadership, and citizenship.

Maurice K. Segall, Director, New York and Fairfield County, CT, Program (New York Office), has been with the Partnership for 23 years. He provides direct legal services to nonprofit groups, coordinates and supervises the work of staff and volunteer attorneys, and frequently lectures on legal issues for nonprofits and attorneys.

He currently serves as a Board Member of the Nonprofit Association of Westchester, as well as serving on the Advisory Boards of Family and Children’s Agency and Circle of Care for Children with Cancer. He previously served on the Advisory Board for the Fairfield County’s Community Foundation Center for Nonprofit Excellence, and on the Board of Directors of several other nonprofits including the Wilton Library, Family and Children’s Agency, the Connecticut Consortium for Law and Citizenship Education, Connecticut Legal Services, and Curtain Call. He is the founder of the Fairfield County Bar Association High School Mock Trial Competition, overseeing that program for 30 years. He is a recipient of the Liberty Bell Award from the Stamford/Norwalk Regional Bar for outstanding community service, the first practicing attorney ever to receive this honor.

Maurice is admitted to the bar in New York and Connecticut. He is a graduate of the University of Delaware and Albany Law School of Union University.

Peter Kempner is the Legal Director and Director of the Senior Law Project at Volunteers of Legal Service (VOLS), where he has worked since May 2018 and oversees VOLS’ legal projects. Mr. Kempner has practiced at all levels of the New York State Court system and his work focuses on a population-based approach to providing legal services to under resourced communities.

Prior to working at VOLS, he held various roles at Brooklyn Legal Services, where he worked from September 2001 until May 2018. Mr. Kempner was a Senior Staff Attorney and Government Benefits Specialist in the Comprehensive Rights/HIV Unit from 2001 until 2011 where he provided general legal services to HIV positive clients. In May 2011, Mr. Kempner helped create the Veterans Justice Project at Brooklyn Legal Services, an innovative general practice legal services project focusing on veterans, active duty military personal and their families. He became Director of the Veterans Justice Project and Deputy Director of the Housing Unit in March 2015.

At VOLS he helped create the VOLS Veterans Initiative and the VOLS COVID-19 Frontline and Healthcare Workers Initiative. Both projects focus on end of life and incapacity planning for their targeted populations.

He received his J.D. from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University in 2001 and was admitted to the New York State Bar in 2002. He received his B.A. in Political Science from the State University of New York College at Purchase in 1996 and he received an M.A. in Political Management from the Graduate School of Political Management at the George Washington University in 1998.

He has served as a member of the Social Welfare Law Committee of The Association of the Bar of the City of New York from 2007 until 2013 and served as the Chairperson of the Committee from 2013 until 2016. He now serves as a member of the City Bar’s Military and Veterans Affairs Committee. He served on the Advisory Committee to the Brooklyn Veteran Treatment Court from 2012 until 2018, was a member of the New York State Bar Association’s Committee on Veterans from 2013 until 2017 and rejoined that committee in 2020. He also co-chairs the New York City Veterans Law Working Group through the Feerick Center for Social Justice at Fordham Law School. 

Mr. Kempner is an adjunct clinical professor at New York Law School where he created and has co-taught their Veterans Justice Seminar and Field Placement since August 2015.

Mr. Kempner is admitted to practice in the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York and is accredited to practice before the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.

Randye Retkin, Esq., is the Director and Founder of LegalHealth, a Division of the New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG). LegalHealth is the country’s largest medical-legal partnership. Prior to joining NYLAG, Ms. Retkin served as Director of Legal Services for the Gay Men’s Health Crisis, the nation’s oldest and largest organization serving people with HIV/AIDS.   Ms. Retkin served as a staff attorney with New York Lawyers for the Public Interest and Volunteers of Legal Service (VOLS) where she established the VOLS Immigrants’ Rights Project. She is a founder of the New York Immigration Coalition and the National Cancer Legal Services Network. She is a co-author of New York States’ Standby Guardianship law and helped spearhead the expansion of the law to assist immigrant families. She is also an author of New York’s States Health-Related Legal Services law. Ms. Retkin is a former member of the OneCityHealth Executive Committee and the New York City Bar Association Ethics Committee and is a frequent presenter on Ethics.

Sidney Cherubin, Esq., is the Director of Legal Services of the Brooklyn Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Project.  He is also an Adjunct Professor at Brooklyn Law School where he teaches the NY Civil Consumer Law Clinic. He was an Attorney, Brooklyn Site Director and Acting Legal Director while employed at The Family Center from August 2002 until August 2007 where he gained a great deal of experience representing families affected by a terminal illness with regard to all aspects of planning for the future well-being of the children in the families. These services include drafting guardianship and standby guardianship papers and representing parents and caregivers in court; executing wills, powers of attorney, health care proxies, living wills, uncontested divorces and Article 17A Guardianships.  As the Director of Legal Services of the VLP, Sidney supervises the Family Law, Bankruptcy, Guardianship, Matrimonial, Foreclosure and Consumer Debt practice.  Sidney oversees and supervises the Kings County Civil Court CLARO and Volunteer Lawyers for the Day Projects.   He is an active member of the Civil Law Advice and Referral Office (CLARO) Council, a co-chair of Brooklyn Bar Association Pro Bono Committee and Special Events Committee and Brooklyn Bar Association Judiciary Committee, chair of the New York City Bar Association Civil Court Committee.