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Pro Bono and Social Justice

Hausfeld has been at the forefront of the legal profession in improving access to justice for individuals and businesses. Our attorneys have a strong tradition handling both large class actions and individual matters on a pro bono basis. Mission driven, Hausfeld’s U.S. pro bono and social justice program is dedicated to assisting people obtain redress for injustices that they could not obtain for themselves due to social, economic, or political reasons.

Notable cases include obtaining compensation for victims of the U.S. September 11th attack on the Pentagon before the Federal Victims Compensation Fund, attaining asylum in the US for politically persecuted Nepalese, representing clients in proceedings before the California Supreme Court concerning gay marriage, and recovering assets of Holocaust victims that were wrongfully taken from them during World War II.

Hausfeld LLP is committed to providing pro bono legal services in cases with substantial social and legal importance. Over the years, the firm’s attorneys have established a strong tradition handling both large class actions and individual matters on a pro bono basis. The firm’s pro bono and social justice work includes:

Global Environmental and Human Rights Action

Climate Justice

In the United States, Hausfeld is engaged in pro bono litigation against the federal government to prevent it from rolling back policies, programs, laws, rules, and regulations previously in place to address and ameliorate climate change and its consequences. The case, Clean Air Council v. USA et al., No. 17-4977 (E.D. Pa.), brought on behalf of Philadelphia’s oldest environmental non-profit, Clean Air Council, and two Pennsylvania children, focuses on the federal government’s knowledge (dating back over fifty years) that climate change presents a clear and present danger to life, and represents an urgent and potentially irreversible threat to human societies and the planet.

Human Rights

Hausfeld submitted an amicus brief in the Supreme Court of the United States on behalf of international human-rights scholars urging the Court to grant review as to whether customary international law excuses exhaustion of local remedies where a state accused of wrongdoing unduly delays the local remedial process.

Civil Rights

Sexual Harassment and Discrimination

Hausfeld Chairman Michael Hausfeld was among the first lawyers in the U.S. to assert that sexual harassment was a form of discrimination prohibited by Title VII; he successfully tried the first case establishing that principle—Williams v. Saxby, 413 F. Supp. 654 (D.D.C. 1976). More recently, Hausfeld represented several female employees alleging sexual harassment against their former supervisor and employer, a San Francisco venture capitalist firm, which resulted in a favorable settlement agreement.

Gay Marriage

We represented several clients in proceedings before the California Supreme Court concerning the right of a bare majority of Californians to pass legislation preventing gays and lesbians from marrying the individual of their choice. In May 2009, the Court affirmed the right of a simple majority of Californians to alter the state Constitution to allow this type of discrimination, though it also required the state to recognize approximately 18,000 same-sex marriages that had been performed before voters outlawed the practice. Justice Carlos Moreno recognized in dissent that “[g]ranting same-sex couples all of the rights enjoyed by opposite-sex couples, except the right to call their officially recognized and protected family relationship a marriage, still denies them equal treatment.”