Everyone at RBGG is very proud of associate Aaron Fischer, who has received the 2014 Jack Berman Award from the California State Bar Association for his devotion to the rights of prisoners and of people with disabilities, both individually and through his practice at Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld.

More information about the award and Aaron’s work is available on the State Bar website here, as well as set out below:

“Each year, the California Young Lawyers Association (CYLA), a Committee of the California State Bar Association, recognizes a young or new lawyer for distinguished service to the public sector, the judiciary, or the public with the Jack Berman Award of Achievement.

The California State Bar established this prestigious award in 1992 to recognize the individual achievements of a lawyer who is either in his/her first five years of practice or age 36 and under.  The award is named in memory of Jack Berman, a young lawyer who demonstrated outstanding service to the profession and the public, and who was tragically killed in a San Francisco shooting. This annual award honors his dedicated service to issues of concern to the profession, especially its young lawyers.

The 2014 Award

The recipient of the 2014 Jack Berman Award of Achievement. Is Aaron J. Fischer, who is devoted to the rights of prisoners and of people with disabilities, both individually and through his practice at Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld.

A 2006 graduate of Columbia Law School, Mr. Fischer began his legal career as a Skadden Fellow at the Children’s Law Center in Washington, D.C., where he advocated on behalf of children with disabilities and serious medical needs to secure appropriate special education services, safe housing, and public services.  He then served as a law clerk for two federal judges, first the Hon. Jack B. Weinstein in the Eastern District of New York, followed by the Hon. Kimba M. Wood in the Southern District of New York.

In 2010, Mr. Fischer joined Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld in San Francisco where he currently practices constitutional and civil rights, commercial and other complex litigation, and employment law.  Mr. Fischer’s commitment to the constitutional and civil rights of individuals and to integrity in the legal profession has established him as a respected member of the legal community and an outstanding litigator. His recent work has included litigation to improve conditions for California’s prisoners with mental illness, and community advocacy to protect the rights of individuals living with diabetes.

In 2013, Mr. Fischer was a key member of a litigation team that successfully fought to protect the rights of a class of California prisoners with mental illness to humane conditions, adequate mental health treatment, and relief from the toxic effects of prison overcrowding.  See Coleman v. Brown, 938 F. Supp. 2d 955 (E.D. Cal. 2013) (ongoing constitutional violations require continuation of federal orders); Coleman v. Brown, 922 F. Supp. 2d. 1004 (E.D. Cal. 2013) (enforcement of prison overcrowding orders). The Coleman court held that detention in California’s solitary confinement units presents significant risks for prisoners with mental illness, including suicide.  The court ordered the removal of the most vulnerable prisoners from solitary confinement, reform of the state’s use-of-force policies, and an end to the practice of placing prisoners with mental illness in solitary confinement for non-disciplinary reasons, such as administrative convenience.

Personal experience has deeply influenced Mr. Fischer’s advocacy work.  Having been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 19, he recognized that many Californians with diabetes still face unfair obstacles to full participation and opportunity at work, in school, and in the community. Recognizing a need that was not being met, he founded the Bay Area Diabetes Legal Advocacy Committee, a partnership with the American Diabetes Association.  He presents regularly on the rights of people with diabetes, and has assisted multiple clients obtain meaningful remedies for diabetes-related discrimination.

Mr. Fischer has also provided pro bono legal assistance in support of diabetes advocates’ legal victory in ANA v Torlakson (57 Cal.4th 570), assisting families of children with diabetes to receive the care they need to be safe and successful at school.  His efforts on behalf of individuals with diabetes were highlighted in the July 2014 issue of Diabetes Forecast.”