Tannenbaum Helpern’s pro bono program aims to make positive changes in our community and effect social justice. In 2019 and 2020, Tannenbaum Helpern attorneys have provided more than 400 hours of pro bono work. The program is managed by a Pro Bono Committee comprised of partners and associates. Under the program, the firm provides pro bono legal services to disadvantaged or low-income individuals and to organizations which serve such persons, and legal services which involve public-interest issues, such as discrimination, protection of the environment and other causes.
Sourcing of pro bono work
The firm sources its cases from approved clearing houses which have vetted cases for consideration such as Legal Services NYC, the Immigration Justice Campaign, Lawyers Alliance for New York, the City Bar Justice Center and other recognized pro bono referral services.
Representation of tenant in Housing Court to address landlord neglect in building maintenance
This case involved an apartment building cited for numerous Housing Maintenance Code violations, which created unhealthy and potentially dangerous conditions. Tannenbaum Helpern attorneys filed a proceeding on behalf of one of the tenants with the NYC Housing Court to require the landlord to make the necessary repairs. Based on our application, an order was issued, directing the landlord to remediate the serious violations in the tenant’s apartment, involving mold, within 30 days and the balance of the violations in 90 days. We are pleased to report that the mold remediation and the other repairs were completed.
This case was referred to us by Legal Services NYC, a government-supported legal aid organization.
Release of an immigrant refugee, seeking asylum in the U.S., from an ICE detention center
In a case that came to us from the Immigration Justice Campaign, a non-profit affiliate of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and the American Immigration Council, we represented a 26-year old Camaroon citizen, seeking asylum in the U.S. Our task was to obtain the refugee’s release pending the outcome of his application for asylum (handled by a different set of lawyers), because he was suffering from serious medical conditions and was at high risk of infection from the COVID virus at an ICE detention facility in Louisiana.
The refugee from Camaroon suffered imprisonment and torture by the Camaroonian police while imprisoned for his non-violent political activities. He fled Camaroon in 2019 seeking refuge and asylum in the U.S. and had been held in various detention centers. We filed an application with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency along with documents supporting the application: medical records, evidence of his good character and an attestation from his aunt, a naturalized U.S. citizen, who offered to provide for his care and shelter. We’re very happy to report that our client was released from the detention center in Louisiana in December of 2020.
Appeal from ICE Deportation Order
We are currently handling an appeal from a deportation order on behalf of an immigrant who was recently detained after residing in the U.S. for 16 years. Our client fled Guatemala when he was 18 years of age after witnessing the murder of his friend by a local gang leader. He now has four minor children, all of whom are U.S. citizens. If he is deported, he fears that he will be hunted down by the gang leader whose act of murder he witnessed. We are appealing the Immigration Judge’s deportation order to the Department of Justice’s Board of Immigration Appeals seeking, among other relief, asylum and withholding of removal under the United Nations Convention Against Torture. This case also came to us from the Immigration Justice Campaign.
Representation of a Victim of Discrimination
We also are co-counsel with another law firm in the representation of an individual, on a pro bono basis, who is seeking damages for a violation of his civil rights, based upon an unlawful arrest.