//Social Responsibility
Social Responsibility 2020-06-19T13:44:28+00:00

Social Responsibility

Wolf Haldenstein has a strong tradition of civic service to the community and charitable and professional organizations, which is illustrated by the Firm’s participation in the civil rights and voter registration movements in the South in the early 1960s. The Firm has kept up this unwavering tradition of civic service in various ways as described below, including providing employment opportunities to disadvantaged youth through various public school, college and bar association diversity programs; hiring ex-offenders in supported job training programs; and using the services of minority- and women-owned businesses and law firms.

Diverse Communities

Ex-Offender Community: Jeffrey G. Smith, Wolf Haldenstein Of Counsel and former senior partner, is a board member and chairman emeritus of the Osborne Association. The Osborne Association works in twenty-one prisons, Riker’s Island, and six county jails. It is focused on transforming 8,000 formerly incarcerated individuals and assisting the families of those affected by the social justice system annually. The Osborne Association’s work includes programs that help fathers transition back into home life and current inmates connect with and support their families, as well as group mentoring for young people on probation, employment services and a program called I-CAN that is designed to reduce recidivism. The Osborne Association’s outcomes include lower recidivism, more intact families and healthier communities. Many of the Osborne Association graduates attain high functioning jobs and college level educations. Mr. Smith’s commitments and contributions to The Osborne Association were profiled in a January 2013 article by The Wall Street Journal, entitled “Supporting a Productive Life for Former Inmates.”

Transgender Community: Partner Thomas Burt has been an advocate for the transgender community nationally and at Wolf Haldenstein. His advocacy ranges from ensuring that transgender community members nationwide have the appropriate documentation needed as they transition; supporting state trans-focused legislation; and co-authoring Wolf Haldenstein’s transgender inclusion policy.

College Foundation Boards

The primary objective of college foundation boards is to raise funds for students in need, including first generation college students.

While incarcerated, Jeffrey Smith, a Yale Law School graduate, obtained his associate degree from Dutchess Community College. He later became the Board Chair to the college’s Foundation Board where he served for over twelve years.

Global, National and Community Involvement

Charitable Associations & Giving: Partner Thomas Burt serves as Secretary of the St. Andrew’s Society of New York, the oldest charitable organization in New York and was at the forefront of admitting women as members and into leadership positions at this 260-year old society.

Educational Excellence: Partner Benjamin Kaufman  served for several terms  (2013-2019) on the Board of the Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns and the Rockaways, one of the largest K-12 Jewish Day Schools in the Tri-State area.  Of Counsel and former senior partner Daniel Krasner is affiliated with various organizations, particularly in the area of Jewish education. He serves as President of the American Friends of Netanya College, and is a board member of both Bar-Ilan University and the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies. For years. Partner Malcolm Brown serves as a member of the University of Pennsylvania Secondary School Committee and Minority Recruitment. In honor of a classmate who passed away in the 9/11 attacks, since 2002, partner Matthew Guiney has helped organize an annual golf outing that raises scholarship funding for diverse students to receive a private catholic school education at his alma mater Regis High School.

Inclusion: Partner Rachele Byrd serves on the board and supports a non-profit ministry to disadvantaged children. Of Counsel Robert Altchiler served on the board of the Jewish Community Center.

Environment: Of Counsel and former senior partner Jeffrey Smith has presided over his community’s environmental advisory council.

Pro Bono

Wolf Haldenstein attorneys provide pro bono assistance to distinct communities. Former partner Eric Levine, now retired from active practice, serves as Special Counsel for Pro Bono Services for the firm.  In this capacity, Mr. Levine represents victims of domestic violence on a pro bono basis, while also providing assistance and guidance on Wolf Haldenstein’s various other pro bono representations.

Partner Thomas Burt worked for three years as a member of a panel of neutrals overseeing a civil rights settlement concerning day laborers in his local community, the Village of Mamaroneck, New York.  Following settlement before U.S. District Court Judge Colleen McMahon, the Village and the representatives of Hispanic day laborer plaintiffs each appointed representatives, under the direction of the Court’s referee, to oversee implementation of terms that included cessation of certain enforcement practices, and creation of a new hiring site supported by a local church.  The body was called the Constituents’ Committee on Day Laborer Issues, and it met from 2007 to 2010, when its work was deemed complete.  Mr. Burt has also represents transgender community members nationwide to formalize their transition.

Partner Matthew Guiney and associate Brittany DeJong have provided pro bono representation to individuals with mental and physical disabilities.