January 2019 Volunteer of the Month: Brett Kahn

When he was a new associate at McCarter & English, Brett Kahn attended a luncheon where the firm’s partners discussed the importance of doing pro bono work and highlighted the opportunities for pro bono work with VLJ. After his first experience volunteering on a case, he was hooked. Over the years, Brett has worked on 37 different pro bono cases for VLJ clients. Today, almost a decade after that luncheon, Brett is a partner himself at McCarter & English, welcomed his first child in July, and is still taking on pro bono cases for VLJ.


In his everyday practice Brett handles state and federal commercial litigation for larger institutions and businesses. Handling an expungement case through VLJ offers Brett a change of pace; he appreciates the opportunity to work on cases that often have a more immediate impact on an individual’s life. “The clients themselves have been great – grateful and modest,” he shared. These are people who “otherwise would not have the chance to work with law firms that can do the kind of work that they need.”

One of Brett’s current criminal record expungement cases has required Brett to call upon his years of experience as a litigation attorney, preparing several pleadings including a motion for reconsideration. When Brett inherited this challenging case from a coworker, he knew he’d have to take a hard line with his adversary.  “Certainly, my client had a checkered past, but he has been an upstanding, law-abiding citizen for a long time now. The things he has on his record should not hold him back from doing what he needs to do to make a better life for his family.” And while paraphrasing his first mentor, Brett shared, “We don’t do pro bono work because it makes us a lot of money; we do it because it’s the right thing to do.”

Brett has taken cases for full representation, and attended expungement, consumer law, and veterans’ clinics. The cases he’s taken on have been varied, for sure, but he noted, “The common denominator among VLJ’s clients is they’re good, deserving people that need help.”Please join us in applauding the exceptional pro bono work that Brett is doing for VLJ clients.