CHICAGO (December 15, 2004) — The McDermott Will & Emery Charitable Foundation has made year-end gifts totaling $100,000 to support legal services for the poor, particularly underprivileged children. One organization in each of the nine U.S. cities where the Firm has an office will receive $10,000. An additional $10,000 will support the work of the Pro Bono Institute and Equal Justice Works. Earlier this fall, the Foundation donated $100,000 to First Book, a national charity devoted to providing new books to poor children, to facilitate the distribution of 500,000 books to children throughout the United States.
"These gifts by the Foundation further reflect the commitment of McDermott Will & Emery to contribute to improving the lives of the less well off, especially children, in the communities where we are privileged to practice," commented Harvey W. Freishtat, Firm Chairman. "Each organization chosen to receive a donation has worked with or support organizations with which the Firm works on its Kids First Project, which focuses on representing children in need to assure they receive appropriate public education and remain in school."
Each of the following nonprofit organizations will receive $10,000:
The Family Advocacy Program at Boston Medical Center (Boston)
The Family Advocacy Program is a hospital-based legal services program that teams lawyers with physicians and social workers to help families secure the health benefits, housing, special education and other services to which the law entitles them. The project is a model of an inter-disciplinary approach to helping families in need.
The Children and Family Justice Center of The Bluhm Legal Clinic of Northwestern University School of Law (Chicago)
The Children and Family Justice Center represents children in delinquency, special education, school discipline and other cases. Lawyers at the Center have guided and assisted the Firm in developing and implementing its Kids First program over the past two years.
The Alliance for Children’s Rights (Los Angeles)
The Alliance for Children’s Rights is the only free legal services organization dedicated solely to protecting the rights of abused and impoverished children in Los Angeles County. It has served over 35,000 children and their families since its founding in 1992.
Family and Education Law Division of the Legal Services of Greater Miami, Inc. (Miami)
Legal Services of Greater Miami is the major provider of legal services to the poor of Dade County. Its Family and Education Law Division, which has been working with the Firm's Miami office on its Kids First program, advocates for disadvantaged children including through its Special Advocacy Project and its Homeless Parent and Child Initiative.
Education Rights Project (Queens Legal Services) of the Legal Services for New York City (New York)
Legal Services for NYC is the largest provider of legal services to the poor in New York City. The Firm's New York lawyers work closely with lawyers from the Education Rights Project of its Queens Legal Services in connection with the Kids First program.
The Public Law Center (Orange County)
Orange County’s pro bono law firm, the Public Law Center, has been working to achieve equal justice under law for Orange County’s poor and underrepresented for over 23 years. McDermott's Orange County lawyers work with Public Law Center staff attorneys on a range of cases and are currently focusing their efforts on children’s rights issues.
Legal Aid Society of San Diego, Inc. (San Diego)
The Legal Aid Society of San Diego, Inc. provides pro bono legal assistance to low income residents throughout San Diego County. A significant portion of its work is devoted to addressing children’s issues, including special education and the rights of the disabled, guardianships and delinquency representation, as well as working to ensure that children have access to the health care to which they are entitled.
School Discipline Project of the Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County (Silicon Valley)
For more than 45 years, the Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County has been helping disadvantaged people improve their lives through equal access to justice. The Firm's Silicon Valley lawyers have worked closely with the Legal Aid Society on guardianship and other children's issues.
The District of Columbia Bar Foundation (Washington, D.C.)
The Foundation, formed in 1977 by the District of Columbia Bar Association, is a major founder of legal services programs for the poor in the District of Columbia, including groups with which McDermott's Washington lawyers volunteer to serve. Grant recipients include Lawyers for Children America, Inc., the Children’s Law Center and the D.C. Coalition Against Domestic Violence.