Calling all associates: A newly formed grant foundation that supports legal aid and litigation-related nonprofits wants your involvement.
Corey Laplante, an associate at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, founded the organization two and a half months ago and it has 106 members and more than $100,000 in contributions.
It costs $1,000 to become a member of The Associates Committee, which distributes the membership fees via grants to non-profits that provide legal services to the homeless, veterans and survivors of domestic violence or that use litigation to make progress on a set of issues such as criminal justice reform and voting rights.
“One of our goals is to encourage more philanthropy and civic engagement,” said Laplante, in an interview Tuesday morning. “Big Law is a target market for us, so we are looking at generally large law firms and specialty boutiques.”
[caption id="attachment_6729" align="alignleft” width="243"][Image “Corey Laplante, the Skadden associate who founded The Associates Committee.” (src=https://bol.bna.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Corey-Laplante.png)]Corey Laplante, the Skadden associate who founded The Associates Committee.[/caption]
So far, the members of The Associates Committee hail from a range of big law firms including Baker & McKenzie, Paul Hastings, Sidley Austin, Latham & Watkins, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, and many others. ( Click here for a full list of members)
Although Laplante works at Skadden, The Associates Committee functions independently, Laplante said. He said he hatched the idea to create the committee from a discussion with Skadden counsel George Fatheree shortly before Laplante left Skadden in 2014 to clerk for U.S. District Court Judge John Joseph Tuchi.
Over the coming weeks, Laplante said he hopes to gain interest from other big law associates to grow the foundation so that the committee can open the grant application process in March. Grant winners will be announced in July, he said.
Laplante also said that every committee member will have the opportunity to vote which applying group qualifies to receive a grant. He added that the members also can acquire more voting power if they rope in their associate friends to become members.
“I am trying to get some press generated,” he said. “We get a pretty good rate of return in terms of people finding out and their willingness to join.”