Jay Cohen Presents Cy Pres Award to Legal Aid

On July 29th, Jay Cohen was pleased and honored to present a $350,000 cy pres award to the Legal Aid Services of Broward and Collier counties. The funds will be used to support Legal Aid’s daily operations and efforts to make legal representation available to people who are otherwise unable to afford it.

Cy pres comes from the French term cy près comme possible, which means “as near as possible.”  As a principle of law, it is used to assure that the intent of a charitable or legal objective is met. When, for example, class-action suits end by judgment or settlement, and funds go unclaimed by class members, the cy pres doctrine gives attorneys and judges a way to put the extra money to good use. Any party involved in a class-action suit can recommend a cy pres recipient. Jay had such a case and recommended Legal Aid. The judge agreed.

Without a cy pres recipient, class-action awards can revert back to the defendant in the case, which essentially negates the deterrent effect of class-action lawsuits. By presenting the court with an alternative, attorneys like Jay Cohen help to make sure that judgment awards and settlement funds go to cy pres recipients who can, ideally, further the cause of the class.