Pro Bono Rank Firm
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Paul, Hastings (14)


Jamie Broder, a litigation partner at Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker, serves on the board of Los Angeles’s Public Counsel. For years she has supported her firm’s effort to provide pro bono legal services, via a partnership with the public interest group, to low-income clients adopting foster children. But in November 2007 Broder decided it was time to take on her own case. More than a year The Am Law Pro Bono 100later, she and a Paul, Hastings team secured more than $275,000 in benefits for their clients: a teenaged boy disabled by fetal alcohol syndrome and prenatal exposure to PCP, and the family that adopted him.

The boy, who was diagnosed with developmental retardation and schizophrenia at 15, had lived with his foster family since infancy. He and his foster family wanted to complete his adoption before he turned 18. So in December 2007, Broder helped them through the process, much as Paul, Hastings does with the 15 or 20 clients firm lawyers see every year at a legal clinic for adoptive parents.

Public Counsel had reminded Broder to make sure that her clients received all available benefits for the emotionally and physically disabled boy. The family, Broder says, had been paid $1,132 a month. But she and a team of associates determined that he was actually entitled to $5,159 a month—and that the higher rate was retroactive. Then they negotiated the maze of state bureaucracy to obtain those benefits for their clients.

“We had to keep going back to get [the state Department of Children and Family Services] to bring him current,” Broder says. Eventually the state agreed to pay the family more than $100,000 in retroactive benefits. And what’s more, the Paul, Hastings lawyers persuaded the state to extend the boy’s benefits to his 21st birthday, instead of cutting him off at the standard age of 18.

“They stopped paying on his eighteenth birthday, so we had to go back,” Broder says. “We got him $5,159 a month for another three years.” In total, she says, Paul, Hastings won $276,000 in state benefits for the clients—which will provide medical care and vocational training for the adopted boy. “The benefits thing just sort of grew,” Broder says. “It was amazing.”

—Alison Frankel | July 1, 2009

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