Manatt teams with Bet Tzedek on Holocaust Survivors Reparations Program
In an effort to provide assistance to elderly Holocaust survivors who are seeking reparations
from Germany and other European countries and to expand an existing partnership with Bet
Tzedek Legal Services in Los Angeles, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP recently announced that
the firm will be appointing Stan Levy as the volunteer national director for the program. This
large-scale national effort will offer a new source of pro bono opportunities for law firms and
corporate legal departments.
Until recently, Bet Tzedek has partnered with Manatt, other law firms, and corporate law
departments through legal clinics on the Holocaust Ghetto Work Reparations Program only in
Los Angeles. With the expansion of the clinics nationwide, the firm anticipates being able to
serve hundreds of elderly Holocaust survivors who are living in poverty at an advanced age. The
program will provide training and support to volunteer attorneys who will then be able to assist
survivors in filling out the German reparations application forms. Manatt will take the lead in
this effort in each of its eight office locations.
Manatt Attorney to Head Holocaust Survivors
German "Ghetto Work" Reparations Program
Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, the national law and consulting firm, has announced that one of
its senior attorneys, Stanley W. Levy, will serve as the volunteer national director for Bet Tzedek
Legal Services – The House of Justice's pro bono initiative to assist Holocaust survivors seeking
German "Ghetto Work" Reparations through the establishment of legal clinics in major cities
across the United States.
Founded in 1974, Bet Tzedek's mission is to ensure "equal justice for all." One of the nation's
premier public interest law firms, Bet Tzedek, "The House of Justice" in Hebrew, provides free
legal services in matters involving consumer rights, elder law, housing, public benefits and
workers' rights to more than 10,000 low-income, disabled and elderly residents of all racial and
religious backgrounds in Los Angeles County. Bet Tzedek is also renowned as one of a handful
of agencies in the world to offer free legal help to Holocaust survivors who are applying for
reparations, pensions, and benefits offered by Germany and other European countries.
Bet Tzedek established the first pro bono "Ghetto Work" Reparations legal clinic in Los
Angeles, in response to the German government's creation of a new reparations program in
October 2007. The program provides a one-time € 2,000 Euro (nearly $3,000 US) payment to
Holocaust survivors who worked while living in a German-controlled Ghetto.
The German government estimates that there are at least 50,000 Holocaust survivors alive today
who may qualify for these new reparations funds, with approximately 20,000 of those survivors
living in the United States.
Working with volunteer attorneys from Manatt, as well as other law firms, corporate law
departments and solo practitioners, Bet Tzedek has provided legal assistance to more than 200
Los Angeles-area survivors in just 10 weeks and expects to serve hundreds more over the next
several months. Bet Tzedek staff and the pro bono law firm volunteers help the survivors to
complete the applications and declarations required by the German authorities. To date, a
significant number of the applications submitted through the program have been approved by
Germany and reparations payments made. Bet Tzedek intends to capitalize on the successes of
the Los Angeles clinic by expanding the program nationwide.
Under Levy's direction, Bet Tzedek will offer training and support to scores of social service
agencies and hundreds of pro bono lawyers throughout the country who, in turn, will provide
legal assistance to survivors in filling out the German Ghetto application forms. Manatt has
agreed to spearhead this pro bono effort in all eight locations where it maintains offices,
including New York, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and San Francisco.
"Making a meaningful contribution to our communities is a responsibility we take seriously at
Manatt," said William T. Quicksilver, the firm's Chief Executive Officer and Managing Partner.
"Bet Tzedek's work, assisting Holocaust survivors as they traverse the reparations process from
half a world away, is both inspiring and engaging. The time that I have spent volunteering in Bet
Tzedek's legal clinic in Los Angeles has been particularly rewarding, and I know that our
attorneys are anxious to participate in the clinics. We are proud to be a partner in this important
effort and of Stan's leadership."
Levy, whose practice focuses on business litigation and labor and employment law at Manatt,
has been named a "super lawyer" in his field by Super Lawyer magazine. He is the past chair of
Manatt's National Pro Bono Committee. In addition, Levy is the co-founder of Bet Tzedek Legal
Services; the founding Executive Director of Public Counsel, the county's largest pro bono legal
services program and a former Executive of Director of the Western Center on Law & Poverty.
Levy, an ordained Rabbi, is the spiritual leader of Congregation B'nai Horin – Children of
Freedom in Los Angeles, and co-founder of the Academy for Jewish Religion California, a trans-
denominational Rabbinical, Cantorial and Chaplaincy School located at the Yitzhak Rabin Hillel
Center for Jewish Life at UCLA.
"As a lawyer I have been privileged to practice and teach law on many important commercial,
public service, civil rights and public interest legal issues," Levy said. "However, this Holocaust
Ghetto Work Reparations Program is clearly one of the most important things I have ever done,
and I am very grateful to be able to do it. As Muhammad Ali once said, 'Service to others is the
rent I pay for my place here on earth.'"
Reflecting on the commitments made by Levy and Manatt, Mitch Kamin, Bet Tzedek's President
and Chief Executive Officer, stated, "We are tremendously grateful to the law firm of Manatt,
Phelps & Phillips for enabling Stan to serve in this vital role. Manatt's Managing Partner, Bill
Quicksilver, and Pro Bono Director, Cristin Zeisler have been particularly supportive of both Bet
Tzedek and Stan, who has worked tirelessly to expand this pro bono effort nationally." Levy
concurred, thanking the firm for "allowing me to take on this effort on behalf of elderly
Holocaust survivors who suffered unimaginable horrors under the Nazis and who, for many, are
now living out their last years in abject poverty. I am also deeply appreciative to Bet Tzedek
Legal Services for undertaking this grueling but morally imperative national effort and asking
me to lead it. It is my tremendous honor to do so."
Working through legal services and public interest law firms throughout the country, each year
Manatt provides tens of thousands of hours of pro bono legal services to qualified low-income
individuals and small-community nonprofit organizations, and is ranked among the top pro bono
programs in the nation.
For further information about or to volunteer for the Holocaust Ghetto Work Reparations
Program or to serve as a pro bono lawyer volunteer, contact Bet Tzedek Legal Services at
firstname.lastname@example.org or Stan Levy at email@example.com. For further information about Bet
Tzedek Legal Services – The House of Justice, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here to read the article in USA Today discussing the reparations that Bet Tzedek has
obtained for Holocaust survivors.