As Kelley Drye’s Pro Bono Counsel, Jim O’Gara has primary responsibility for developing and overseeing the Firm’s pro bono representation program, with support from the Pro Bono Committee. In his role, Jim maintains relationships with courts, referral agencies and legal services organizations that provide pro bono opportunities for our lawyers; establishes policies and procedures for accepting new pro bono representations; oversees staffing of pro bono matters; and joins other partners in mentoring associates and supervising their work.
Prior to taking on the role of Pro Bono Counsel, Mr. O’Gara was a litigator with extensive experience handling complex prescription pharmaceutical and toxic tort litigation issues, including the representation of international pharmaceutical and chemical companies. Jim’s direct pro bono experience has included habeas corpus petitions, sex offender rights, SORA hearing, immigration rights (asylum), and election rights. Jim represented national medical testing laboratories in medical malpractice lawsuits; banking organizations in litigation involving RICO claims and allegations of commercial fraud and misrepresentation; counseled a variety of Pacific Rim trading companies with respect to their import and other commercial activities throughout the United States; and represented manufacturers before the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Food and Drug Administration.
For his work in representing a client in a federal habeas corpus petition, obtaining the reversal of his conviction and securing his release from prison, Mr. O’Gara was commended by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in its decision granting the requested relief, as follows: “Before concluding, we pause briefly to commend Kelley Drye & Warren, which took on this matter pro bono publico over eight years ago, and has now seen it through. Kelley Drye & Warren’s work on this case has been tenacious and consistently skillful, and by providing their client with superbly effective assistance of counsel, the firm has acted in the best tradition of our profession. . . .” Pavel v. Hollings, 261 F. 3d 210 (2d Cir. 2001).