BuckleySandler has a strong commitment to public service and encourages all of its lawyers to participate in pro bono work. The firm’s pro bono practice focuses on providing legal services to economically disadvantaged individuals as well as to non-profit organizations in our surrounding communities and throughout the United States.
In 2013, BuckleySandler has expanded the firm’s pro bono activities, adding several new partnerships and continuing its partnership with other organizations with which the firm has had an ongoing relationship.
- In a new partnership, the firm will work with the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Program’s Landlord Tenant Resource Center to provide free legal information to unrepresented tenants and landlords with residential housing disputes in Washington, D.C. The work will include helping individuals understand court proceedings, assist with pleading preparation and how to present cases in court, and making referrals to counsel when necessary.
- Additionally, BuckleySandler lawyers will be volunteering with the AARP’s Legal Counsel for the Elderly. The program offers assistance in preparing wills and powers of attorney for low-income, elderly residents of D.C.
The firm will continue working with other legal service providers such as:
- Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs
- Montgomery County Office of the Public Defender
- D.C. Volunteer Lawyers Project
- Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless
- Office of the Federal Public Defender – Eastern District of Virginia
- U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York Pro Se Office
- Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles
BuckleySandler pro bono representations involve a wide variety of subject areas that reflect the diverse interests of our attorneys. A few representative pro bono matters are highlighted below:
Securing Disability Benefits for Indigent Client
A BuckleySandler attorney recently represented a client referred from the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless and secured a successful outcome while working in conjunction with an attorney with the Clinic.
- The matter came as an appeal to the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review, (ODAR), for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The issue was whether the claimant was disabled under Section 1614(a)(3)(A) of the Social Security Act, and thereby entitled to supplemental income.
- Case preparation took 15 months from the time of intake to the date of hearing. This included the review and compilation of medical records, communication with medical personnel, and the submission of medical records and a brief in support of the claimant’s position.
- On May 3, 2012, accompanied by his attorneys, the claimant appeared and testified at a hearing before the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), at ODAR. The ALJ made a fully favorable decision on the record, finding that the claimant was disabled under Section 1614(a)(3)(A) of the Social Security Act, and entitled to monthly SSI payments and $16,867.96 in retroactive payments. In arriving at his decision, the ALJ considered the claimant’s age, education, work experience, medical records, functional capacity, and the opinion of an impartial vocational expert.
Reduction of Sentence for Unlawful Reentry Plea
In another matter, a BuckleySandler associate assisted on a matter with the Alexandria Federal Public Defender’s (AFPD) service in the Eastern District of Virginia in the representation of a citizen of Mexico charged with Unlawful Reentry. The client, who had been previously deported, returned to the U.S. temporarily for the purpose of proving paternity of his U.S.-born daughter to assure her status as a U.S. citizen.
- This was the client’s second charge of Unlawful Reentry in the Eastern District of Virginia and the client decided that he wanted to enter a guilty plea for a felony charge of Unlawful Reentry – an immigration violation that carries up to 10 years in jail.
- The BuckleySandler attorney and AFPD attorney successfully arranged a plea deal with the Assistant U.S. Attorney, dropping the client’s sentencing offense level, resulting in a possible sentence of 2-8 months.
- After appearing before the judge in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, conducting the plea colloquy and arguing the sentencing, the attorneys secured the lowest possible sentence for the client, two months with no supervised release.
Securing Benefits for Veteran with PTSD
BuckleySandler attorneys also recently assisted a veteran of the United States Army in his efforts to obtain veteran benefits for his service-connected post-traumatic stress disorder (“PTSD”). The veteran, who was diagnosed with PTSD stemming from his service in the Vietnam War, was denied benefits for his condition by the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (the “Board”).
- BuckleySandler represented the veteran in his appeal before the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, submitting several briefs and motions on the veteran’s behalf arguing that the Board erred in rejecting favorable evidence supporting his claim for service-connected PTSD benefits.
- BuckleySandler’s efforts resulted in a favorable decision vacating the Board’s determination and remanding the matter for further adjudication, wherein the veteran may present additional evidence in support of his benefits claim.