Public Interest and Pro Bono
Public interest and pro bono work is at the heart of our work at Selendy & Gay. We are committed to practicing law to make a difference, whether by working in communities where good legal representation is in short supply, taking on pro bono individual and class representations, providing meaningful support for existing organizations, or by partnering with federal and state justice officials to identify cases that might benefit from our expertise through public-private partnerships.
In less than a year, we have established a substantial record of work furthering our core values of justice, equality, fairness, integrity, and dignity. Some of our recent public interest work includes:
- Protecting the rights of public service workers against a student loan servicer that misled them about their loan forgiveness options and discouraged them from pursuing income-based repayment plans;
- Helping residential solar customers get fair payments for power they export to the grid by representing their agents in the renewable energy market;
- Advocating for schoolchildren’s fundamental right of access to basic education, including literacy, by representing a constitutional scholar as amicus in a federal case;
- Challenging the conditions of detention and lack of medical treatment in California prisons by representing a prisoner in a federal appeal; and
- Successfully defending a ban enacted by New Jersey in 2013 on the practice of so-called “sexual orientation change efforts” or “conversion therapies” on minors by state licensed professionals.
Over the years, our lawyers have developed a strong track record of protecting the public interest through cases that represent our values, including:
- Representing the Federal Housing Finance Agency in a one-month securities fraud trial in the Southern District of New York, successfully obtaining over $800 million for U.S. taxpayers. The court’s 361-page decision shone a harsh spotlight on industry-standard practices in the period leading to the Great Recession, holding that “the magnitude of falsity, conservatively estimated, was enormous.” The judgment was unanimously affirmed by the Second Circuit and the Supreme Court of the United States denied certiorari;
- Serving as Senior Trial Lawyer and the most senior U.S. official at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, holding responsibility for investigations and prosecutions in northern Uganda, eastern Congo, and the Darfur region of Sudan;
- Securing a trial victory as co-counsel with the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) in a precedent-setting methylmercury pollution case under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act;
- Successfully defending New York City charter schools against suits challenging their ability to co-locate in Department of Education school buildings and demanding they pay rent to the DOE, obtaining denials of preliminary injunctions in both instances;
- Successfully defending a consent decree governing the delivery of medical services to Medicaid-eligible children in Tennessee in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit;
- Representing a foundation that benefits elementary schools in uncovering a Ponzi scheme run as a hedge fund, resulting in the arrest, seizure of assets, and jail time for the principal;
- Successfully defended a woman who was the victim of abuse against a claim that, if it had been successful, would have rendered her insolvent;
- Representing plaintiffs in appeals of Section 1983 and sentencing matters and submitting amicus briefs in the Supreme Court of the United States on behalf of corrections professionals opposed to solitary confinement practices; and
- Representing a class of psychiatric inpatients and emergency room patients at a large metropolitan New York City hospital in constitutional litigation challenging inhumane conditions of care, and obtaining (along with the Department of Justice) a groundbreaking consent judgment entered by the Eastern District of New York.
Outside the courtroom, our attorneys and staff are also founders, sponsors, and board members of various public interest organizations, including the American Immigration Representation Project, the National Center for Law and Economic Justice, the Ronald McDonald House, the Center on Civil Justice, the UJA Federation, the Foundation for Education in Honduras, and the Public Theater.