Pro bono work has been central to the Firm’s culture throughout our history. Our commitment to provide the highest quality legal services is for all of our clients, both business side and pro bono. We believe that providing pro bono legal services is the ethical obligation of each of our attorneys, and we strongly encourage all of our attorneys to include pro bono services in their practice of the law. Our support translates to financial rewards, as the Firm’s policy provides credit toward annual bonuses for pro bono hours.
We also believe that pro bono work is an invaluable component in the professional development of our attorneys, and often helps to develop legal skills and contribute to their understanding of practice areas outside of their own. Our associates receive regular training in pro bono legal assistance and are apprised of opportunities where their involvement could make a difference.
Riker Danzig attorneys use their legal experience to benefit the communities surrounding where we live and work, creating positive change for marginalized groups by working with community organizations, social services and legal assistance agencies.
Riker Danzig’s commitment to the community is evident from awards the Firm has received in connection with our pro bono work.
Most recently, in 2022 the Firm was honored to receive the “Partner in Justice Award” along with our client Johnson & Johnson from Partners for Women and Justice. We have long been involved with Partners, which provides legal assistance to victims of domestic violence who cannot afford an attorney but their income disqualifies them from using Legal Services. The award reflects our efforts to enhance and expand Partners’ pro bono program. In addition to representing numerous Partners clients in domestic violence restraining order cases, we hosted a CLE training that included a presentation by our ethics counsel on special ethical considerations when representing domestic violence clients. The result was an uptick in attorneys assisting Partners clients, and more successful resolutions to allow safe and secure futures for Partners clients. A Riker Danzig Counsel serves on Partners’ Board of Directors, and numerous attorneys contribute pro bono legal time.
The Firm was a recipient of the 2019 Legal Leadership Award by the ACLU of New Jersey for our pro bono work on behalf of New Jersey’s Indonesian Christian residents at risk of deportation. Our team assisted the ACLU-NJ in filings to prevent deportations of Indonesian Christian residents of Central Jersey. The ACLU-NJ characterized this effort as an “unprecedented collaboration” in providing critical legal representation to this vulnerable immigrant community.
Riker Danzig has been honored with five "Companies That Care" awards from the Commerce & Industry Association of New Jersey (CIANJ). Our 2022 award was given in recognition of our annual Toy Drive for community children through Jersey Battered Women’s Service and the Morristown Neighborhood House. In 2020 we were honored specifically in connection with our pro bono counsel assisting a young woman with mental and developmental disabilities. In 2019 we were recognized for our pro bono work with Planting Seeds of Hope in Newark, a non-profit focused on urban agriculture and food justice. Environmental attorneys Steven Senior and Matthew Karmel helped to develop regulatory amendments that would reduce permitting requirements for small-scale composting activities, and are also working with the State on a pilot program to allow expanded composting activities at community gardens.
In 2021, our pro bono legal support for Matriark Foods was recognized by CIANJ with an Environmental Leadership Award. We advised Matriark on traditional and novel legal issues related to its rescue, upcycling and donation of 620,000 pounds of food over a 90-day period in an innovative food waste reduction project.
In 2017, Riker Danzig was honored with a "Great Oak Award" by New Jersey Monthly magazine, a program created to honor the state’s most generous companies.
In previous years, the Firm was awarded the Corporate Partner of the Year Award by the Hope Chest Scholarship Foundation, which provides financial assistance to deserving minority youths of the State of New Jersey attending higher education, and the Corporate Philanthropy Award by The Community Foundation of New Jersey in recognition of the pro bono and charitable organization work with which the firm has been involved.
In addition to providing pro bono legal representation to community organizations, members of the Firm actively engage in community work by serving on boards of directors or committees of non-profit organizations, thereby contributing their time and business acumen to the mission of these important organizations that seek to improve our communities.
The following organizations are among those for which the Firm performs pro bono work, contributes charitable time or provides charitable support: