Pro Bono & Community Service

Gibney attorneys recognize their professional responsibility to serve the public interest through pro bono and community service activities. Our firm supports and gives credit to associates who take an active role to assist those with limited means. Our lawyers are encouraged to select their own pro bono and community service activities, including: serving as board members and trustees of educational, religious, non-profit and civic institutions; teaching as adjunct professors at local law schools; representing battered spouses and abandoned children in immigration proceedings; acting as mobile legal volunteers during elections; and assisting immigrants with the U.S. citizenship process.  Through the “Gibney for the Community” program, we match vacation time for employees who use their own vacation time to engage in worthy causes to serve the needs of the community.

RECENT ACTIVITIES

inMotion – Story by Story – Climbing to End Domestic Violence

For the third year in a row, Team Gibney participated in the fundraiser Story by Story – Climbing to End Domestic Violence to benefit inMotion, a nonprofit organization providing free legal services to battered women and children. We were among over 1,000 inMotion supporters coming together to climb the stairs of 245 Park Avenue—a 43-story skyscraper in midtown Manhattan.  We raised over $3,200, including donations from the firm, and family and friends. storybystory13-tn

New York Cares

For the past four years, Gibney employees have participated in several NY Cares programs. In 2013, Gibney employees teamed up with Rolex USA at the NY Cares Spring and Fall events, painting in a park and a school.

Gibney employees participated in the Winter Wishes program and donated wrapped gifts fulfilling the wishes of disadvantaged children connected to shelters and community organizations throughout the City.

The firm has also collected dozens of used coats to contribute to a warmer New York through the New York Cares Coat Drive.

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Safe Passage Project

A team of Gibney attorneys is currently providing pro bono services to two brothers from Guatemala who are seeking Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS), which is available to certain undocumented immigrants under the age of 21 who have been abused, neglected, or abandoned by one or both parents. Once a child receives SIJS, he or she can apply for U.S. permanent residence and eventually for U.S. citizenship. This pro bono effort is part of the Safe Passage Immigration Project founded by Professor Lenni Benson of New York Law School. Attorneys Michele Gallo, Natalia Gouz, Inez Iraldo, Amy McCoy and Zarina Syed, are representing one of the brothers in immigration removal proceedings, and both brothers in guardianship applications filed in the Family Court, in the hope that they may then apply for SIJS, lawful permanent resident status and a secure future. In recent years the Department of Homeland Security has reported that there were 1.2 million undocumented minors in the United States. While these children are entitled to counsel in immigration proceedings, the government does not pay for legal representation and as a result more than half go through immigration proceedings without a lawyer. Gibney attorneys are therefore pleased to provide pro bono assistance in these cases.

My Sisters’ Place

Gibney attorneys and paralegals have helped to reunite more than 25 children from Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico with their mothers in the greater New York City area as part of a pro bono project on behalf of My Sisters’ Place (MSP), a nonprofit organization assisting victims of domestic violence and human trafficking.  Gibney professionals participate in a small but enormously complex and emotional aspect of the lives of MSP clients: the reunion of dependent children who are located outside the United States with their victimized mothers.  In addition to preparing required forms and documentation for presentation to the U.S. Consulates abroad, Gibney attorneys helped to prepare the children for their Consular interviews and other logistics required for their travel to the U.S.  One Guatemalan mother was reunited with three teenage children that she had not seen for nearly 10 years.  During those years, even though some of the children had no recollection of their mother, they sent homemade cards and clung to the hope of a future together.

OneJustice

Gibney attorney Judi McManigal serves as Chair of the Board of Directors of OneJustice, a California service organization comprised of individuals from law firms, law schools, corporate legal departments and legal nonprofit organizations whose purpose is to steer campaigns that provide legal help to Californians in need. A hallmark project of OneJustice is the “Justice Bus,” in which urban law students are literally driven by bus to rural areas where they collaborate with local legal aid organizations to provide essential free legal assistance to elderly, disabled, poor and other needy clients. Without the Justice Bus, many of these rural organizations do not have the staff to offer legal clinics, and clients often must wait weeks to get legal advice.

CUNY & AILA Citizenship Day

Gibney Immigration attorneys routinely participate in ongoing, free immigration legal aid clinics organized through a partnership between the City University of New York and the American Immigration Lawyers Association.  The attorneys help legal permanent residents  to complete their applications for U.S. citizenship, obtain any available waivers of fees and language requirements, and receive referrals for sliding scale or pro bono services in the event of any complex issues.   The clinics in New York City are co-sponsored by the CUNY Citizenship Now! Project and AILA.

Street Soccer U.S.A.

Immigration attorney Filomena Lepore has been working to obtain replacement green cards for homeless immigrant soccer players involved with Street Soccer USA.  The organization seeks to improve the lives of homeless adults through a competitive soccer league that provides mentoring, structure, fellowship and hope.