On April 5, 2013, Florham Park attorneys Bill Wright, Marion Cooper and Matthew Gately were honored for their pro bono service by the New York State Bar Association. Bill, Marion and Matt were each included in the Empire State Counsel program, an honor roll of attorneys who exceeded 50 hours of pro bono work on behalf of indigent clients in 2012.
Among their pro bono engagements in 2012, Bill and Marion worked together representing J.L. and his mother in a complicated special education placement and bullying matter. The student suffered from an array of behavioral and learning disabilities and the school district failed to adequately address incidents of race and sexually-charged harassment, intimidation and bullying (“HIB”) J.L. suffered at the hands of classmates. After extended discovery, an HIB hearing before the Board of Education and two long mediation sessions, the District eventually agreed to a settlement, the terms of which the mediator described off-the-record as “unprecedented.” The District agreed to J.L’s placement at a private school equipped with small classes and related services that could appropriately handle J.L.’s behavioral, academic and emotional needs. J.L. is thriving in his new environment.