Pro bono work has strong institutional roots at Simpson Thacher. The particular matters we pursue are as diverse as the interests of our lawyers.
We represent individuals seeking asylum in the United States to escape torture and other persecution in their home countries. Clients are from Africa, Southeast Asia, South and Central America, the Middle East, and Russia.
Representation of Children
In both immigration and family courts, our attorneys represent children who are often in the United States alone. We pursue remedies including Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS), asylum and other remedies on behalf of children fleeing violent or unstable home lives.
Domestic Violence and Trafficking
We represent immigrant victims of domestic violence and trafficking in seeking legal status in the United States based on their cooperation with government prosecution of certain crimes and other criteria. Through legal clinics in Trafficking Intervention Courts, we assess the civil legal needs of victims of human trafficking in the criminal justice system.
Adjustments and Naturalizations
Attorneys assist clients to prepare applications for naturalization, the process by which eligible immigrants become U.S. Citizens, and lawful permanent resident status.
The Firm has a long history of providing legal services to a variety of nonprofit organizations and public charities. Associates assist nonprofit organizations with filing for federal tax exemption, and advise on an array of governance issues.
Housing Court Program
Our attorneys represent low-income tenants seeking to avoid eviction or who have serious housing conditions that need to be remedied. Often contentious, these cases typically provide opportunities for associates to appear in court, argue motions or handle a trial.
Services to Students
Access to Special Education Services
Our attorneys advocate for families of disabled children to help them negotiate their Individual Education Plans with the Department of Education and attain the special education services for their child that are mandated by Federal Law.
School Based Legal Clinic
Because we recognize that a family’s legal problems can undercut a child’s ability to stay in school, Simpson Thacher runs an innovative pro bono program to provide legal services to families of high school students in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Through a partnership with four public high schools on the campus of the former Bushwick High School, our lawyers staff legal clinics and work with students’ families to address civil legal problems such as housing, immigration, and public benefits disputes that adversely affect students’ education.
Homeless Youth Legal Clinic
Through legal clinics with The Door Legal Services, our attorneys provide advice and counseling to homeless youth on an array of issues such as school enrollment, foster care, establishing person identification, housing, public benefits, transit offenses, personal finance and navigating the criminal justice system.
The Firm represents low income women in custody, visitation, child and spousal support cases, helping them to attain the economic stability necessary to care for their families.
Attorneys represent parents in Article 10 proceedings filed by the Administration for Children’s Services in Family Court. Working to keep families together safely, wherever possible, the Firm represents mothers and fathers in child protective proceedings.
Criminal Justice Programs
The Legal Aid Society’s Criminal Appeals Bureau refers cases to Simpson Thacher, thereby giving our associates the chance to represent criminal defendants in state court appeals. Associates are mentored as they review the trial court record, brief the case, and argue the appeal.
Trial Court Representation/CJA Panel
The Criminal Justice Act panel for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York refers pro bono matters to the Firm. These include the representation of criminal defendants, witnesses in criminal cases, and convicted individuals charged with violation of their supervised release. Associates working on these cases interview incarcerated clients; attend federal court appearances and hearings that include arraignment, bail and sentencing; and negotiate plea bargains with federal prosecutors.
Community Economic Development Programs
Simpson Thacher lawyers offer free transactional legal advice to small businesses and micro-entrepreneurs. Through a variety of legal clinics, our lawyers meet with fledgling small businesses in need of legal advice on such matters as contract and lease negotiations; tax and intellectual property questions; formulation of employment and personnel policies; and general brainstorming about business development and corporate law.
Artists and Arts Organizations
We provide representation and advice to members of the arts community across various disciplines. Simpson Thacher lawyers counsel low-income artists and not-for-profit arts organizations on such transactional matters as starting a dance company, copyrighting a manuscript, and producing an independent film.
Services to Veterans
The Firm represents veterans seeking VA benefits that have been denied in final judgment by the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.
Our lawyers provide pro bono assistance through legal clinics in several offices at VA Hospitals and other locations. Issues that arise in the clinic involve family, health, property, tax, wills and probate, and public benefits law. The clinic also handles issues related to hurricanes, HIV/AIDS and consumer protection.
Services to Non-Governmental Organizations Abroad
We partner with The Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice, which advances global justice by engaging lawyers across borders to support civil society and an ethically active legal profession. We also partner with TrustLaw Connect, the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s global pro bono service that connects NGOs and social enterprises with the best law firms around the world. The service’s mission: proliferating the practice of pro bono to drive social change especially in the areas of human rights, women’s empowerment, better governance, greater transparency and the rule of law.”