Legal Aid Society
Legal Aid Society
"The Legal Aid Society was founded in 1876 to defend the individual rights of German immigrants who could not afford to hire a lawyer. The massive influx of poor immigrants into New York City in the years following the Civil War bred resentment and immigrants often became the targets of graft and hostility. The German Society, a philanthropic organization dedicated to assisting German immigrants, incorporated Der Deutscher Rechts-Schutz Verein (The German Legal Aid Society) on March 8, 1876, under the direction of Edward Salmon, a Prussian born lawyer and former governor of Wisconsin, and with financial support from its charter members, German-American lawyers, merchants, and businessmen...
"The response was overwhelming. By 1911, The Legal Aid Society was handling nearly 34,000 cases a year. Although the Society struggled to keep pace with the growing demand for its services, it continued to provide effective representation to all those who required it. The Society's praiseworthy achievements led von Briesen to declare that, "No one will dare trample the rights of the poor and helpless under foot, as long as the appearance of the Society's attorney in court demands respect and careful consideration of the rights of its clients." Under von Briesen's leadership, The Legal Aid Society established itself as a financially independent organization. Von Briesen brought the work of the Society into the public eye and called upon New York City's leading citizens to lend their support. Such prominent figures as Henry Ward Beecher, Carl Schurz, Robert W. DeForest, James C. Carter, Seth Low, Elihu Root, Joseph H. Choate and Theodore Roosevelt heeded the call, endorsing the Society's ideals and becoming lifelong members. The Rockefellers and Andrew Carnegie also made substantial donations to the Society, enabling much needed expansion of its operation. Benefit concerts and operas, featuring the most famous performing artists of the day, were held at the Metropolitan Opera House and Carnegie Hall to raise funds.
"It was Charles Evans Hughes, former Supreme Court Justice and Governor of New York, who is credited with placing the Society's finances on a firm foundation. Hughes succeeded von Briesen in 1917 and implemented new classes of membership. He enlisted the support of New York's leading law firms and moved The Legal Aid Society closer to the Association of the Bar of the City of New York and other lawyers' associations." 
Board of Advisors
Accessed May 2010: 
For the Term Ending 2012
- Ruth Atkins, a former Vice Chair of the Board, is a community leader.
- Christopher P. Bogart, a former Director is the Managing Director of Glenavy Capital LLC.
- Thomas R. Brome, a former President of the Society, is a partner at Cravath, Swaine & More LLP.
- Michael J. Chepiga, a former President, is a partner at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP.
- Barbara Latz Cohen, Co-Chair of the Civil Support Division.
- J. Peter Coll, Jr., a former Director, is a partner at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP
- Michael A. Cooper, a former President, is a partner at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP.
- George A. Davidson, a former President, is a partner at Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP.
- Richard A. Eisner, a former Director, is a partner at Eisner LLP.
- Michael D. Fricklas, a former Director, is Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary at Viacom Inc.
- Michael Helfer, a former Director, is General Counsel and Corporate Secretary at Citigroup, Inc.
- Steven G. Horowitz, a former Director, is a partner at Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton LLP.
- David Klingsberg, a former Director, is special counsel at Kaye Scholer LLP.
- Marti Kopacz is the Managing Principal for Recovery & Reorganization Service of Grant Thornton LLP.
- Loretta E. Lynch, a former Legal Aid Director and a former United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, is a partner in the New York office of Hogan & Hartson LLP.
- Jonathan D. Siegfried, a former Director, is a partner at Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP
- Grace Lyu-Volckhausen, a former Vice Chair, is the President of the Tiger Baron Foundation and a New York City Commissioner on Human Rights.
For the Term Ending 2011
- Paul S. Bird, a former Director of the Society, is a partner at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP.
- Richard W. Clary, a former Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors, is a partner at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP.
- Bruce E. Fader, a former Director of the Society, is a partner at Proskauer Rose LLP.
- Vincent R. FitzPatrick, Jr., a former Director of the Society, is a partner at White & Case LLP.
- Michael B. Gerrard, a former Director of the Society, is a partner at Arnold & Porter LLP.
- Herve Gouraige, a former Director of the Society, is a partner at Epstein Becker & Green, P.C.
- Patricia M. Hynes, a former Chairman of the Society, is senior counsel at Allen & Overy LLP.
- Jerome C. Katz, a former Director of the Society, is a partner at Ropes & Gray LLP.
- Walter Mack, a partner at Doar Rieck Kaley & Mack.
- D. Stuart Meiklejohn, a former Legal Aid President, is a partner at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP.
- Gary P. Naftalis, a former Director, is a partner at Kramer, Levin, Naftalis & Frankel LLP.
- Maurice N. Nessen, a former President, is a retired partner at Kramer, Levin, Naftalis & Frankel LLP.
- Lawrence B. Pedowitz, a former Vice Chair, is a partner at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz.
- Steven B. Rosenfeld, a former President, is a partner at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP.
- Frederick Schaffer, a former President, is Vice Chancellor for Legal Affairs and General Counsel of The City University of New York.
- Leon Silverman, a former President, is of counsel at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP.
- Alan Vinegrad, a former Legal Aid Director and former United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, is a partner at Covington & Burling.
- Perry Weitz, a former Director, is Presiding Partner at Weitz & Luxenberg, P.C.