Announcing our 2017 Grantees!
Big Law Associates Continue Raising Funds, Announce 2017 Legal Aid Grants
The Associates’ Committee Distributes $150,000 to Four Public Interest Organizations
LOS ANGELES, September 26, 2017— The Associates’ Committee, a member-funded grant foundation consisting of Big Law associates from across the country, today announced grants totaling $150,000 to four legal public interest organizations: Lawndale Christian Legal Center, Equal Justice Under Law, Immigrant Defenders Law Center and Uncommon Law.
The Associates’ Committee awarded a $75,000 grant to Lawndale Christian Legal Center (LCLC), an organization dedicated to providing criminal defense and restorative justice legal services to at-risk youth on the West side of Chicago. It awarded $25,000 grants to Equal Justice Under Law, a national civil rights group aiding the fight against inequality and wealth-based discrimination; Immigrant Defenders Law Center, a Los Angeles-based social justice law firm that defends immigrant communities against systemic injustice; and Uncommon Law, a nonprofit law firm based in Oakland that provides trainings, counseling and legal representation to prisoners serving life sentences (with the possibility of parole).
In only its second year, The Associates’ Committee has now awarded a total of $350,000 to legal aid organizations around the country. The foundation continues to build grassroots momentum within the corporate law firm ranks, inspiring young attorneys to engage in philanthropic giving. The group’s founder and board president, Corey Laplante, an associate at the national litigation boutique, Wilkinson Walsh + Eskovitz, is energized by the continued growth of the foundation, and the members’ commitment to making a tangible impact in their communities.
“What our members understand – and what we need all young lawyers to understand – is that you cannot wait until later in your career to think about charitable giving and pro bono work; you must be hands-on and make philanthropy and civic engagement a central part of your personal and professional identity from day one,” Laplante said. “We are honored to support these four worthy organizations and applaud their innovative approaches to bridging the justice gap.”
Each year, The Associates’ Committee reviews dozens of applications from qualified 501(c)(3) organizations that provide legal aid, engage in impact litigation or advocate for institutional progress, including in such areas as education, homelessness prevention, veterans’ rights, environmental justice, domestic violence protection and criminal justice reform. The committee’s members, in turn, sponsor individual nonprofit organizations that align with their individual philanthropic focus. Grant awards are determined by member vote following applicants’ submission of a one-minute video detailing how grant funds would be used to promote justice.
Dana Williamson, an associate at Sidley Austin in Chicago, who served as sponsor of LCLC’s application, is excited to watch the organization turn the grant funds into action.
“I was so proud to sponsor LCLC, and I was elated that my fellow members of The Associates’ Committee selected them for one of this year’s grants. LCLC is doing exactly the kind of work necessary to bring real reform to the criminal justice system here in Chicago,” Williamson said.
“This grant will help LCLC launch the nation’s first-ever restorative justice community court, in partnership with the Circuit Court of Cook County, and will directly impact the lives of hundreds of at-risk young adults,” said LCLC Executive Director, Clifford Nellis. “We are honored to receive this award and we are thrilled to see private sector attorneys supporting community-based legal aid groups like LCLC.”
About The Associates’ Committee
The Associates’ Committee is a nationwide, member-funded grant foundation comprised of law firm associates from over 50 different law firms in the nation’s biggest legal markets. We award grants to qualifying 501(c)(3) organizations that provide legal aid, engage in impact litigation or advocate for institutional progress. Our mission is two-fold: to support organizations at the cutting edge of public interest advocacy, and to encourage philanthropy and civic engagement among young corporate lawyers. To learn more, visit www.associatescommittee.org.
About Lawndale Christian Legal Center
We walk youth through — and away from — the criminal justice system to become good citizens and leaders of the community. We offer zealous and competent criminal defense legal services, compassionate social health services, and faithful loving mentors who walk with our youth on their life’s path. We serve youth involved with the criminal justice system, age 24 and younger, in North Lawndale, Chicago. To learn more, visit http://lclc.net/.
About Equal Justice Under Law
Equal Justice Under Law is a national civil rights legal nonprofit dedicated to achieving equality in our justice system by challenging wealth-based discrimination. Our organization provides pro bono legal services to those most in need, giving a voice to the silenced and disenfranchised. Since our founding, we have filed 29 lawsuits in 15 states and the District of Columbia. So far, these legal challenges have achieved fundamental change across six states. To learn more, visit www.equaljusticeunderlaw.org.
About Immigrant Defenders Law Center
Immigrant Defenders Law Center is a next-generation social justice law firm that defends our immigrant communities against systemic injustices in the legal system. We envision a future where no immigrant will be forced to face immigration court alone. Our programs are a first step towards the long-term goal of providing universal representation to all immigrants facing deportation. To learn more, visit www.immdef.org.
About Uncommon Law
UnCommon Law is a small non-profit law firm based in Oakland, California. We provide counseling and legal representation for prisoners serving life sentences (with the possibility of parole) in California. We also provide training for prisoners, attorneys, family members, and law students in order to improve the overall quality of representation prisoners receive in their parole hearings. Our team takes a uniquely personal and comprehensive approach to advocacy, working intensively with our clients and their supporters for many months — even years — to prepare for their parole suitability hearings. To learn more, visit www.uncommonlaw.org.