Rene Kathawala serves as Orrick's firmwide pro bono counsel, responsible for managing and initiating the firm's pro bono activities, including all administrative and legal aspects.
Rene works with other pro bono counsel and legal services nonprofits to increase the quantity and quality of pro bono representation that is being provided to indigent clients in each of the cities worldwide where Orrick has a presence. In addition, he supervises and directly works on cases in such diverse areas as immigration law, family and matrimonial law, housing law, public benefits law, employment law counseling, impact litigation and nonprofit advice and counseling. Rene has worked on many substantial matters in the federal and state systems over his career that are reported as precedent. He also works with firm attorneys to strengthen the firm's innovative Impact Finance and Social Enterprise team that he founded and that provides representation in diverse transactional areas to nonprofit, for profit and hybrid organizations dedicated to providing basic services to poor persons around the world in areas including microfinance, water, education, energy, housing and health.
Based on his long-standing commitment to access to justice issues, Rene has been appointed to serve as a member of the New York City Bar Association Right to Counsel Task Force and the New York City Bar Association Family Court Judicial Appointment & Assignment Process Work Group. In recognition of his exemplary work in family law, United States District Judge Bloom appointed Rene as a special master in a federal court family law matter in 2014 in the Eastern District of New York in case number 07-cv-02565-ARR-LB, styled Garmhausen et al v. United States Department of Justice et al.