Responsible citizenship encompasses many facets of how we live and work. We understand that a diverse workplace enhances our ability to excel, not only as professionals, but also as productive members of our community. For this reason, we are committed to promoting an inclusive and diverse firm culture, one that welcomes and encourages the contributions of men and women of varying ethnic backgrounds and social perspectives.
Citizenship, however, goes beyond our walls and honors our responsibility to give back to our communities. Throughout our history we have been committed to the delivery of pro bono services and to the support of organizations that add value to each of our lives. In addition to the organizations we name later, many of our attorneys devote time to charitable causes, municipal entities and non-profit organizations.
Similarly, we feel it is critical to donate our skills and time to the improvement of the profession and practice of law. To that end, over 20% of our attorneys participate in Inns of Courts in various areas of law, some as founders of the Inn, and many as officers of those Inns. Inns of Court are the premier training and educational organizations for new lawyers, and a venue in which they can converse with and learn from members of the judiciary and leaders of the bar.
Our commitment to diversity can be seen foremost in our firm’s people.
Specifically, 29% of our Members are female, as are 52% of the Associates. In addition, 22% of our associates are minorities. The firm's Executive Director is one of only a few female law firm Executive Directors in New Jersey. Our administrative staff is 53% female and 20% African American or Hispanic, and our support staff (exclusively female) is 25% African-American or Hispanic; 3% or our firm population is openly gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.
In support of our ongoing commitment to firm diversity, we inform our legal recruiters of our desire for minority candidates and post job openings with minority bar associations. We strive to provide an accommodating environment for working parents, allowing for flexible and part-time work schedules.
PRO BONO ACTIVITIES
Throughout our history, bringing free legal advice to individuals and communities in need has been a priority. While we encourage all of our attorneys, from partners to counsels to associates, to bring pro bono matters to the firm, we ask every associate to handle at least one pro bono matter each year. During their annual associate evaluations, pro bono participation is an integral part of the process.
One focus of our pro bono work is the ReLeSe program of the Volunteer Lawyers for Justice, which helps individuals with criminal records address civil legal matters that are barriers to successful community reintegration. ReLeSe matches clients with attorneys to handle issues most commonly encountered by recently incarcerated individuals but not covered by existing legal services programs.
Beyond ReLeSe, our pro bono work has covered many different types of legal issues, such as:
“Pro bono Effort Leads to Win Against Drug Company by Terminally Ill Teen,” New Jersey Law Journal, September 1, 2008
Newark, New Jersey (September 2008) - On August 21st, Saiber's Marc Wolin and Jakob Halpern successfully obtained a preliminary injunction before United States District Court Judge William J. Martini, so a terminally ill boy could potentially receive access to an investigational drug. Specifically, Judge Martini ruled that PTC Therapeutics, a drug company in South Plainfield, New Jersey, breached promises to the family of Minnesota teen Jacob Gunvalson regarding access to an investigational drug trial to treat his fatal form of muscular dystrophy. In all clinical trials to date, the drug has shown promise in treating Gunvalson's particular type of muscular dystrophy with no serious side effects. Judge Martini ruled that Jacob could receive access to the drug, if approval for his compassionate use is received from both the Food and Drug Administration and an Institutional Review Board. The drug company has appealed to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.
Appellate Division Reverses, Awards Post-Conviction Relief in Pro-Bono Criminal Appeal
Sean R. Kelly and Christopher J. Turano of Saiber LLC in Florham Park, New Jersey, acting as Designated Counsel for a criminal defendant in State of New Jersey v. E.W., __ N.J. Super. __, 2010 WL 1655819, April 27, 2010 (NO. A-0146-08T4), successfully obtained post-conviction relief vacating a 10-year portion of the defendant’s sentence for sexual assault.
The attorneys’ acceptance of the assignment was part of a pro bono program, promoted by New Jersey Supreme Court Chief Justice Rabner, by which lawyers in private practice take on criminal appeals from the Office of the Public Defender.
Saiber Lawyer, Geri Albin, Helps Clients Through Pro Bono Program
Geri Albin (r) congratulates clients Tesfaye and Alemtsehaye Ashine on purchase of W est Orange home from Habitat for Humanity-Newark Inc represented by Habitat Project Mgr Jim Corbett (2nd from left). The purchase was facilitated and financed by NJ Housing Mortgage Finance Agency and the Township of West Orange which donated the site to Habitat. Saiber also represented Norman Scott, a disabled Gulf War veteran, who purchased the other condo unit in the building.
StreetLaw, Inc. is a corporate legal diversity pipeline program that encourages minority high school students to consider a career in law at an early age. Saiber has been involved with StreetLaw since 2007 visiting high schools, instructing students in various aspects of law and then coordinating a day long program in which the students use the legal concepts they studied in the classroom playing the part of opposing lawyers in hypothetical legal cases.
City of Newark Department of Law
As a result of StreetLaw's success, we have partnered with the City of Newark's Department of Law and held a full day program for their summer students, including coordinating a tour of the courthouse. This “Saiber Day” event also gives the students, who range in educational level from high school to law school, an opportunity to talk to our attorneys and staff about their careers and the private practice of law.
Big Brothers/Big Sisters
The firm supports Big Brothers/Big Sisters through donations and by volunteering time to mentor students in the Newark city school system. Our Managing Member, William F. Maderer, Esq., has been a Big Brother for one of the students, who graduated from college in 2010, for more than ten years. The Firm has also contributed to clothing drives organized to benefit the Big Brothers/Big Sisters.
Legal Services Foundation of Essex County
We make regular donations to this charitable and philanthropic arm of the Essex County Bar Association, which provides a wide variety of law related education services to the public at no charge. Firm member David J. D'Aloia, Esq. is a Trustee of the Foundation.
Newark Regional Business Partnership
The firm is a member of the Newark Regional Business Partnership, which has a strong history of representing business and embracing diversity to enhance the region's economic competitiveness. Several firm members are active in this organization, and have presented programs during their Brown Bag Luncheon series.
Dress for Success
The mission of Dress for Success is to promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and the career development tools needed to help these women thrive in work and life. Saiber has conducted several suit drives and collected hundreds of suits which were then donated to Dress for Success.
Every fall, The Jersey Cares Coat Drive collects and distributes over 40,000 gently used winter coats to at-risk men, women, children and infants. Saiber has conducted a coat drive every winter for the past several years and has collected hundreds of coats for Jersey Cares.