Weil Gotshal Sponsors Anti-Defamation League Peer Training Program: Proceeds from pro bono case fund diversity education in 8 NYC public high schools

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As part of its ongoing efforts to promote diversity awareness, law firm Weil Gotshal & Manges will sponsor the Anti Defamation League's A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE(R) Institute Peer Training Program in eight New York City public high schools located throughout several boroughs. The firm's contribution will fund a three-day anti-bias and tolerance-training program for 200 selected students and workshops, which they will conduct with more than 15,000 of their peers, multiplying the program's success exponentially.

The obstacles faced in the Tenafly situation reminded us of the importance of religious and cultural respect and tolerance

    As prelude to the observance of New York City's inaugural "Day Out Against Hate" this Thursday, the first of the Weil-sponsored sessions will take place today at Curtis High School, in Staten Island. Among the other Weil-sponsored schools is lower Manhattan's Murry Bergtraum, added at the request of the Department of Education in response to a bias incident in October.

The funds Weil Gotshal is contributing are a significant portion of the fees awarded to the firm in connection with its pro bono representation of the Tenafly Eruv Association in its litigation against the Borough of Tenafly. In that highly publicized case, the Tenafly Borough Council refused to approve the creation of an existing eruv, saying that such approval would violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. The eruv, made of plastic strips affixed to telephone poles and indistinguishable from those used by Verizon, delineates a symbolic enclosure around a neighborhood area which allows Orthodox Jews to carry and push baby carriages and wheelchairs on the Sabbath. Weil attorneys prevailed in a five-year court battle that was ultimately decided by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in favor of the Eruv Association.

"The obstacles faced in the Tenafly situation reminded us of the importance of religious and cultural respect and tolerance," said Robert Sugarman, a partner who headed the Weil team and who is very passionate about this cause. "It seemed more than fitting to contribute the fees to the cause of diversity training, as part of Weil Gotshal's ongoing commitment to giving back to the community."

"There are few missions more important than educating young people to become more responsible adults and leaders," said Stephen J. Dannhauser, Weil Gotshal's chairman. "By becoming more respectful of diversity, the students who participate in the Program will also become better prepared to join, and be assets to, an increasingly diverse workplace."

Under Mr. Dannhauser's leadership, Weil Gotshal contributes to numerous community and diversity related projects, as well as a broad range of pro bono initiatives that directly impact the firm's overall success. Weil was also recently recognized by ADL as the first law firm to become a Community of Respect(R) and the first organization of any kind to be named a Community of Respect(R) both nationally and locally. Other causes that benefit from the firm's efforts include the Boys & Girls Harbor Charter School, New York Police & Fire Widows' & Children's Benefit Fund, and The American Cancer Society.


Since its inception in 1991, A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE(R) Institute Peer Training Program has trained more than 9000 young people to provide students with a forum for learning about discussing bias and discrimination. A national evaluation by Yale University last year documented the Program's success in improving students' awareness and engagement in discussion about prejudice with classmates, concluding that it "can have an important effect on reducing bias." In New York alone, the Institute's programs were active in 45 schools in 2006, reaching more than 135,000 students, teachers and families throughout New York.

About Weil, Gotshal & Manges

Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP is an international law firm with more than 1,200 lawyers, including over 300 partners. Weil Gotshal is headquartered in New York, with offices in Austin, Boston, Budapest, Dallas, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Houston, London, Miami, Munich, Paris, Prague, Providence, Shanghai, Silicon Valley, Warsaw, Washington DC and Wilmington.

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Rhonda Walker
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