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Ethical Issues in Pro Bono Representation 2017

Speaker(s): Jennifer L. Kroman, Louis S. Sartori, Maurice Segall, Professor Bruce A. Green, Randye Retkin, Sidney Cherubin
Recorded on: Dec. 14, 2017
PLI Program #: 183458

“YES! We can help with that.”

Across the top of the whiteboard hanging in Lou Sartori’s office are the watchwords of Legal Aid’s Pro Bono Practice. Whether through individual representation of an at-risk client, answering calls on the Access to Benefits Helpline, or bringing groundbreaking civil rights litigation, the Pro Bono Practice provides over two thousand volunteers from major New York City law firms with training, supervision and mentorship which allow them to deliver life changing legal assistance to a multitude of Legal Aid clients each year.

Prior to joining the Pro Bono Practice, Lou was the Attorney-in-Charge of the Society's Manhattan and Staten Island Juvenile Rights Practice offices, supervising staff representing thousands of court involved youth and oversaw the initiation of programs focusing on literacy and the needs of adolescents transitioning from foster care. He previously served on the First Department Family Court Advisory Committee and was an Adjunct Professor at St. John's University School of Law. A frequent presenter at the ABA’s Equal Justice and other national conferences, Lou also co-chairs the Practicing Law Institute’s annual Ethical Issues in Pro Bono Representation program. Lou is a member of the New York State Bar Association’s Pro Bono Coordinators Network, The Public Interest Pro Bono Association (PIPBA), and the New York City Bar Association Committee on Pro Bono and Legal Services.

Since his appointment as Director in 2011, Lou has worked closely with Society staff in developing pro bono projects benefitting trafficking survivors, senior citizens, immigrants, LGBT communities and residents of public housing. Increased participation by attorneys from in-house legal departments and other corporate professionals helped expand the number of clients served. As a result, each week Legal Aid staff call with new ideas and requests for assistance. The answer is always the same:

“YES! We can help with that.”

Maurice K. Segall is the Director of the New York and Fairfield County, CT, Program for Pro Bono Partnership (, a 501c3 charitable organization that provides free business legal services to nonprofits throughout the NY tri-state area.

Maurice 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 was previously an associate at Cummings & Lockwood and Wofsey, Rosen, Kweskin and Kuriansky. He serves on the Risk Management Committee and the Senior Advisory Board of Family and Children’s Agency, and has served on Boards of several nonprofit organizations including the Fairfield County Bar Foundation, the Wilton Library, Family and Children’s Agency, Connecticut Consortium for Law and Citizenship Education, Connecticut Legal Services, and Curtain Call. He has also served on the Advisory Board for the Fairfield County’s Community Foundation Center for Nonprofit Excellence.

Maurice is the founder and coordinator of the Fairfield County Bar Association High School Mock Trial Competition, now in its 29th year; and 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.

Jennifer Kroman is  Cleary Gottlieb’s Director of  Pro Bono Practice.  She manages the firm’s broad array of pro bono initiatives and develops and strengthens Cleary’s relationships with public interest and legal services partners.

Jennifer maintains an active docket of pro bono cases, primarily focused on representing survivors of gender violence.  She has represented dozens of human trafficking survivors in a wide array of matters, including immigration relief and filing post-conviction motions to vacate criminal convictions.  She has also handled immigration cases for those victimized by forced marriage and honor killings.  Recently Jennifer spearheaded Cleary Gottlieb’s efforts in responding to the 2017 immigration executive orders, including leading the pro bono team that filed suit in federal court in New York and secured the return to the United States of a Cleveland Clinic doctor wrongfully returned to Saudi Arabia from JFK airport on January 28, 2017.

Jennifer often speaks on issues related to pro bono.  She has presented to the Practicing Law Institute and the ABA Equal Justice and UJA Conferences on the legal needs of sex trafficking survivors and ethical issues in pro bono representation.  She has also provided testimony to the New York State Task Force to Expand Access to Civil Legal Services on the importance of the private bar in delivering essential pro bono services.

Jennifer has been honored by Sanctuary for Families with the Abely Award for her work with trafficking survivors.  She has also been honored by The New York Law Journal as a “Lawyer Who Leads By Example” and by The Legal Aid Society for her supervision of a project with Legal Aid representing survivors of sex trafficking who seek vacatur of prior criminal convictions.

Jennifer originally joined Cleary Gottlieb as a litigation associate in 1996 and was a litigation partner from 2003 to 2006.  Jennifer received a J.D., magna cum laude, from the University of Pennsylvania in 1994, and a B.A., Phi Beta Kappa, in 1991 from the University of Michigan.

Bruce A. Green holds the Louis Stein Chair at Fordham Law School, where he directs the Louis Stein Center for Law and Ethics.  He teaches and writes primarily in the areas of legal ethics and criminal law, and has been involved in various bar association activities, including many in these fields.  Professor Green currently chairs the N.Y. City Bar’s Committee on Professional Ethics, and he is a member and past chair of the N.Y. State Bar Association’s Committee on Professional Ethics.

Randye Retkin, Esq., is currently 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, serving 33 hospitals and community based health organizations including three VA hospitals. 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 New York’s Health-Related Legal Services law. Ms. Retkin is an adjunct professor at Fordham Law School, a member of the OneCityHealth Executive Committee and serves on the New York City Bar Association Ethics Committee.   

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 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, member of the New York City Bar Association.