Executive Director of Firm’s Pro Bono Client, Human Services Council, Also Nominated For Her DEI Work
NEW YORK (April 24, 2023) — Chambers USA has shortlisted Kostelanetz LLP for its 2023 Pro Bono: Outstanding Firm award, identifying Kostelanetz’s pro bono program as within the nation’s top ten for the year. During 2022, Kostelanetz contributed more than $2 million and over 3,000 hours in pro bono work, as outlined in the boutique law firm’s 2022 Pro Bono Report.
Kostelanetz’s pro bono work last year included assisting indigent taxpayers, defending wrongfully incarcerated exonerees, and aiding inmates with overly harsh sentences. Some of the major pro bono projects the firm took on included a high-profile case in which Kostelanetz represented the Human Services Council of New York, an umbrella organization for 170 nonprofit social service organizations, and ten other nonprofits. The partnership of Kostelanetz and the Human Services Council of New York was referenced in materials considered by Chambers in its review of the pro bono efforts of law firms nationwide. Kostelanetz’s 2021 lawsuit federal lawsuit attacks the constitutionality of New York City Local Law 87 of 2021, which was signed into law by former Mayor Bill de Blasio. The lawsuit, which is still pending, contends that the law jeopardizes City funding for City social services and places the City’s safety net at risk.
The firm also represented on a pro bono basis the American College of Tax Counsel (ACTC) as an amicus in a major U.S. Supreme Court case, Alexandru Bittner v. United States (No. 21-1195). In its February 28, 2023, decision in Bittner, the Court adopted a position advocated by ACTC in an amicus brief filed by Kostelanetz attorneys Caroline D. Ciraolo, Megan L. Brackney, Caroline Rule, and Garrett L. Brodeur. Agreeing with ACTC’s position, the Court held that the penalty for a non-willful failure to file a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) applies on a per-report basis and not on a per-account basis.
Kostelanetz also has assisted Public Agenda, a nonprofit organization that strives to strengthen democracy in the U.S. through nonpartisan research and public engagement, by striving to give a democratic voice to communities across the country, as well as to engage diverse constituents, including government agencies.
In addition to shortlisting Kostelanetz, Chambers shortlisted Michelle Jackson, Executive Director of the Human Services Council of New York, for Chambers’ Diversity & Inclusion: Outstanding Contribution award for in-house attorneys. Kostelanetz nominated Ms. Jackson for this award in recognition of her contributions to improving conditions for marginalized communities in New York City. Chambers identified Ms. Jackson as being within the top 10 in-house lawyers promoting diversity and inclusion in the United States.
According to the Chambers website, Chambers USA is the leading legal data and analytics provider, ranking the top lawyers and law firms across the country. Chambers best-in-class editorial and research teams of over 200 exceptional individuals assess lawyers and law firms across the nation, conducting thousands of one-on-one interviews per year with in-house counsel and third-party experts.
Chambers will announce the winners of the awards on June 15, 2023. View the 2023 Chambers USA Awards nominees here.