The Honorable Stuart Peim (Ret.) of Pashman Stein Walder Hayden was quoted in New Jersey Law Journal article, “Former Superior Court Judge Bolsters Pashman Stein's Public Interest Practice.” The article discusses Judge Stuart Peim joining Pashman Stein Walder Hayden as Pro Bono of Counsel.
“I had a yen to litigate again,” said Peim in a phone call on Monday. “I have stuff to do, but there was just enough going on that there were a lot of vulnerable people who needed help.
“I decided I was going to help some people along the way,” Peim (pronounced Pime), a Yankees and Devils season ticket holder and avid fly fisherman, said. “And with this pandemic, having something to do is really good. I can’t go to Yankees games, to Devils games, or to the city (New York) to go out to eat, so I spent today replying to a brief from [a] Third Circuit [case], and it was intellectually challenging.”
Peim said Pashman Stein is giving him the opportunity to pursue pro bono work full time. He won’t be paid for that work, but will be paid if he accepts work from a paying client or if he generates new business for the firm.
“Pashman Stein is a really nice vehicle for me to do this kind of work,” Peim said. “It’s not a case where I do the work only if the price is right.
“It’s not a big challenge to do pro bono work. Doing it right and doing it well—that’s different,” he said.
Peim said his 401(k) and state pension provide him with a nice retirement.
“I’m comfortable and … was looking for an arrangement where I would have the leeway on what work to take. I felt like this was a very comfortable fit for me,” said Peim. “If I want to do work for paying clients, I can, but if I don’t, I don’t have to. At this point in time, I am just looking to do pro bono work.”
Peim said the “original plan” in 2018 was to work for a nonprofit and do pro bono immigration work after retiring from the bench.
“It’s not as easy as it sounded,” recalled Peim. “Most of these places are really not set up to do that. A lot of these places said, ‘We will give you all the pro bono cases you want.’ But I did not want to work out of my home, and I wanted to be able to mentor younger lawyers.”
Peim said he spent the first six months of retirement doing mundane household tasks, and then it was off to work for Legal Services of New Jersey in its immigration unit in Edison. There, he worked with detained immigrants, including children who came over the border and were placed with a relative guardian.
Peim said in that role he felt somewhat limited: his state pension precluded appearances in state court.
“I came to the conclusion that being of counsel to a firm was my best option,” said Peim. “I would have more leeway on which cases to take.”
“During the course of my career, I have seen many vulnerable people suffer because they did not have access to a lawyer, which is why I have chosen to dedicate my retirement to helping as many of these vulnerable people as possible,” said Peim, who on Monday noted that he had a firm associate and legal assistant helping him author the Third Circuit brief.
Another motivator, he said, was his father. Isaac Peim immigrated from Poland to Argentina, and then Argentina to the United States, during World War II in 1942.
“My father came to this country as an immigrant,” said Peim. “I don’t feel like I am making a sacrifice. People helped my father along the way, and I felt it was time to give back.”
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