(May 1, 2012, Weil News)
It was announced today that Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP was named among the recipients of the New York State Bar Association’s 2012 President’s Pro Bono Service Awards for its work as co-counsel with The Legal Aid Society on a class action to enjoin New York City from cutting off rent subsidy payments that the City had guaranteed to 16,000 formerly homeless families and individuals.
The plaintiffs in the matter were formerly homeless families and individuals who were participants in the City’s Advantage program. Under the program, the City provided “guaranteed” rent subsidies directly to landlords renting to Advantage tenants. Tenants and landlords entered into agreements whereby the City agreed to provide a portion of the Advantage tenants’ rent for up to two years to assist with transitioning to permanent housing. In March 2011, after losing New York State funding for the program, the City announced its plan to terminate the Advantage program within a month, and the plaintiffs were faced with imminent eviction from their rented apartments.
Weil assisted The Legal Aid Society throughout the duration of the Advantage matter, including successfully obtaining a temporary restraining order against the City; expedited discovery, followed by a seven-day expedited trial; post-trial briefing; and the subsequent appeals, including two substantive appeals at the First Department and a motion for leave to appeal at the New York State Court of Appeals, which is still pending. In total, Weil’s Advantage Team contributed 5,866 hours of legal work to the matter.
Because the First Department sided with the City, the Advantage program has been terminated even though the motion for leave to appeal has not yet been decided. However, because of Weil’s and The Legal Aid Society’s advocacy the Advantage tenants continued to receive subsidies from April 2011 through to February 2012, totaling in excess of $115 million.
The awards are given to attorneys for representation in all of New York State’s 13 judicial districts; Weil received the award for the 2nd Judicial District (Kings County). (See awards brochure
The Weil team on the Advantage pro bono matter included partners Debra Dandeneau and Konrad Cailteux; associates Frank Grese, Isabella Lacayo, Adam Lavine, Arielle Lenza, Jesse Morris, Kyle Ortiz, and Emily Pincow, and paralegals Nicole Aliseo, Elizabeth McConville, Ines Spinnato, and Andrea Wilmer.