Counsel Who Care: How Attys Are Helping During A Crisis

By Xiumei Dong
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Law360 (April 22, 2020, 8:09 PM EDT) -- As coronavirus cases have spiked, law firms across the nation have been stepping up to help, from providing pro bono legal assistance to fundraisers and donations. Here, Law360 rounds up some of the latest charity efforts from the legal community in response to the pandemic.

Davis Wright Atty Helps Celebrity Chef With Worker Relief Fund

Davis Wright Tremaine LLP's restaurant industry practice chair Riley Lagesen has teamed up with his longtime client Guy Fieri, the popular celebrity chef of the Food Network's "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives," to create a relief fund aimed at helping restaurant workers who are currently out of a job.

According to Davis Wright, the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund has already raised $15 million to date and will be distributed to workers impacted by the crisis. It has also partnered with the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation and drawn sponsorships from Pepsico, Cargill, TikTok, Uber Eats and others.

Davis Wright's marketing department has also assisted with graphics, messaging and publicity, the firm said.

Wigdor Tackles Employment Questions on YouTube

Lawyers at Wigdor LLP are hosting live Q&A sessions every Friday to help address employment concerns for those facing layoffs, furloughs, cuts to salaries and other workplace challenges during the COVID-19 crisis.

The employment law firm launched the series, titled "Ask a NY Employment Lawyer: Your COVID-19 Questions Answered," on April 3, responding to a range of inquiries that were either submitted in real-time through YouTube's live chat feature or by email in advance.

Most of the questions submitted thus far have been about unemployment insurance benefits and paid sick leave, the firm said, while anticipating them to vary later on.

The sessions will be offered live on YouTube at 1:00 p.m. Eastern time each Friday, the firm said.

Chaffetz Lindsey Launches 'Donate Your Commute' Initiative

New York-based disputes boutique Chaffetz Lindsey LLP has created an online donation form for the general public to donate money they have saved during the lockdown to organizations that help New Yorkers who have been hit hardest by the crisis.

All 28 lawyers and 17 support staff members have made individual donations, the firm said, adding that it will match up to $20,000 on outside contributions.

As to date, Chaffetz Lindsey has raised nearly $17,000 from the campaign. All donations will be split 50-50 between New York Lawyers for the Public Interest and City Harvest, New York City's largest food rescue organization.

Greenberg Traurig Patent Agent Prints 3D 'Medical Splash Mask'

Greenberg Traurig LLP patent agent Joseph Finan has leveraged his 3D printer expertise to produce medical masks for health care workers who are caring for those infected by the coronavirus.

Finan is using his 3D printer to make parts for an open-source medical splash mask developed by Josef Prusa, the maker of his printer. His goal is to assemble and deliver 100 masks to the Dallas medical community by the end of April, according to the firm.

Finan has set up a GoFundMe to help pay for material. Each completed splash shield set costs about $3.

More Mask, Meal Donations to Frontline Workers

K&L Gates LLP said it has donated more than 100,000 N95 masks to hospitals and shelters in communities where the legal giant has offices, including Boston, Charleston, Los Angeles, Orange County, Paris, Pittsburgh, Portland, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.

Meanwhile, Cooley LLP said it has loaned kitchen equipment and donated 300 masks to Jose Andres' non-profit World Central Kitchen, which is helping to feed hospital workers and other medical personnel.

And Grossman Roth Yaffa Cohen PA has donated meals to over 30 fire stations, police departments and ER departments throughout South Florida as well as 2,000 face masks to Baptist Health and Cleveland Clinic Florida hospitals in Miami, the firm said. The Florida-based firm also donated $25,000 to Feeding South Florida, a nonprofit food bank serving to help feed those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Additionally, WilmerHale on March 23 donated more than 1,600 N95 masks to various health care organizations, and in early April, Dechert gave 3,000 surgical masks to London hospital The Royal Marsden.

Firms Form Task Force, Advisory Group to Assist Small Businesses

Back on the economic front, law firms including Morrison & Foerster LLP, Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz PC and Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo PC have joined forces with local officials and organizations to form a COVID-19 Task Force to assist small businesses and non-profits.

In a similar move, Eversheds Sutherland, Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP and Boies Schiller Flexner LLP are among a group of over 30 firms working together with the Lawyers for Good Government Foundation to help small business owners navigate and secure support through the federal government's COVID-19 stimulus package.

Additionally, Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP is serving as a lead firm for a remote legal clinic launched by the Chicago Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights, Milbank LLP attorneys are assisting the Public Counsel's Community Development Project in Los Angeles, and Paul Hastings LLP has partnered with the City Bar Justice Center in New York to provide pro bono services to small businesses and individuals impacted by the pandemic.

--Editing by Philip Shea.

Is your law firm donating services or funds to help address the impact of the coronavirus pandemic? Contact senior reporter Xiumei Dong at

Correction: An earlier version of this article misstated the number of masks donated by Grossman Roth Yaffa Cohen PA. The error has been corrected. This story has also been updated with other donations from Grossman Roth.

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