Passion Pays

Andrea S. Rattner says her paid work and her pro bono activities are symbiotic

Published in 2006 New York Metro Super Lawyers Magazine — July 2006

Andrea Rattner loves her job, and that ardor overflows into volunteer work that benefits myriad organizations. A partner with Proskauer Rose, she practices in the area of employee benefits and executive compensation law. “My parents instilled in me the value of doing good works,” Rattner says. In high school, she joined a community service club dedicated to helping the elderly and disabled children.

Since becoming an attorney, Rattner has worked pro bono on employee benefit plans for the Legal Aid Society of New York. “They give legal representation to people who can’t afford it and who really need the help and support of the legal system,” she says. “What’s been so great is that I love what I do for my career, and I love utilizing that to help other organizations and entities.” Because her area of practice is heavily regulated and highly technical, Rattner says many tax-exempt or similar entities lack the internal expertise to deal with those issues. “It’s very rewarding and fun in a lot of ways to help these organizations.”

Rattner frequently describes her work as “fun,” whether it involves a paycheck, a pro bono project or volunteer work for Cornell University’s Human Resources and the Law program. “I teach what I know best, an employee benefits/ERISA class,” she says. “It’s fun to translate it into layman’s terms, because it’s an interactive class that’s based on real-life examples and case studies.”

Though Proskauer Rose has always encouraged its attorneys to do pro bono work, Rattner needed no incentive. She describes her volunteer and paid work as symbiotic. “Some people utilize pro bono work as a way to do things they don’t do on a daily basis,” she says. “I find it exciting and interesting to help people in this area, so it’s a way to give back that’s very natural for me.” When not immersed in work or spending quality time with her husband and young son, Rattner — a self-described spa junkie — also knows when to rejuvenate, which enables her to do what she loves and does best with renewed vigor.

Andrea S. Rattner is chair of the Employee Benefits Committee for the Association of the Bar of the City of New York and a member of the American Bar Association’s Section on Taxation, Employee Benefits Committee. She serves on Proskauer Rose’s Firm-Wide Pro Bono Initiative, designed to further in-house pro bono involvement.

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