McCarter & English

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Pro Bono Rank Firm
(Am Law 200 Rank)
Am Law
Pro Bono Score
Average Pro Bono
Hours Per Lawyer
% of Lawyers
With More Than 20 Hours
81
McCarter & English (124)
49.0
54.1
43.8

 

William Greenberg served for 27 years in the National Guard Army Reserves, reaching the rank of brigadier general, before he retired from the military in 1992. While serving as a "weekend warrior," he joined McCarter & English in 1968, and is currently a litigation partner. It's not surprising that, over the course of the war in Iraq, Greenberg has been especially attuned to the needs The Am Law Pro Bono 100of the reservists who serve there. "National reservists are going into combat and taking big hits," Greenberg says.

Two years ago, after The Washington Post exposed substandard conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., Greenberg decided to do more for veterans returning from service in Iraq and Afghanistan. Greenberg and partner Michael Pasquale started the Military Legal Assistance Program, in collaboration with the New Jersey State Bar Association's Military Law and Veteran's Affairs Committee. (Pasquale now chairs the committee.) The program assists soldiers and their families with the legal problems many veterans may face, including divorce or child custody disputes, difficulties with creditors, employment issues because jobs were not held for them during their tours of service, or the denial of disability benefits.

One of the first cases Greenberg worked on through the program involved representing a National Guardsman who lost his leg in Iraq when his vehicle was blown up by an improvised explosive device. When the soldier returned to the United States, the military deemed him unfit to continue service, but was only willing to give him 10 percent of his disability pay—Greenberg says this is not an uncommon situation. He appealed the decision to the military physical evaluation board at Walter Reed Medical Center, and was able to get 100 percent disability pay for his client.

The program began as a strictly New Jersey–based service for soldiers returning to Fort Dix in New Jersey. However, as the need grew, so did the program. McCarter & English currently serves soldiers from Fort Dix; Fort Meade in Florida; West Point in New York; and Walter Reed in Washington, D.C. Some 12-15 McCarter & English attorneys have represented a total of about 60 soldiers in disability cases, and so far, the firm has yet to lose a case. "The system makes it very difficult to get an adequate settlement," Greenberg says. "But we have found we have made a difference."

—Kristen Putch | July 1, 2009

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