The Power of Cy Pres to Advance Workers’ Rights

“I recommend The Institute as a cy pres recipient because of the Institute’s commitment to advancing workers’ rights. The Institute’s work is closely aligned with the underlying purpose of employment class actions, which is to ensure that workers can avail themselves of the protection of our labor laws.”
– Carolyn H. Cottrell, Schneider Wallace Cottrell Konecky LLP

When it is not possible in class and collective actions to distribute all of the money awarded to the class members or unclaimed funds remain after the case has concluded, the legal doctrine of cy pres is invoked to further the underlying purpose of the lawsuit. Rather than returning the funds back to the wrongdoing defendant, the cy pres doctrine, which means “as nearly as possible,” permits the court or parties by agreement to designate the residual funds to a non-profit charitable organization whose work has a close connection to the claims in the litigation and that advance the public interest.

The Institute for Workers’ Rights has a strong track record as a cy pres beneficiary and has been awarded more than $1.5 million in cy pres funds from 64 cases since the organization was founded in 2008. The Institute is a compelling potential beneficiary of cy pres awards in employment discrimination, wage and hour, and other cases involving workplace violations.

By designating the Institute for a cy pres award, you too can help bring about a future in which all workers are treated with dignity and respect; workplaces are equitable, diverse, and inclusive; and the wellbeing of workers in a priority in business practices.

The Institute provides free technical assistance on securing and structuring cy pres awards. For more information, please contact

Leah A. Hofkin, Director of Development
(415) 625-5421

“We often work on complex wage and hour class and collective actions, and when possible, we like to ensure that money not claimed by class members goes to a good cause in line with the underlying legal rights we were trying to protect in the case. We often look to the Institute as our choice for where we like to send unclaimed money in our wage and hour class and collective action settlements on behalf of workers. The values of the Institute center around protecting workers, including ensuring they receive all the wages they are due, and the Institute’s mission aligns with the values that our courageous plaintiffs are protecting when they bring wage and hour class and collective actions. By sending money as a cy pres award to the Institute, we help ensure the settlement furthers the rights of workers like those we fight for in our wage and hour cases.
Ty Frankel & Patti Syverson, Frankel Syverson PLLC


The attorneys who have named the Institute as a cy pres beneficiary in their cases are making a tremendous difference not only to us, but to the lives of the workers we touch. We extend our gratitude to the following attorneys and law firms for using the power of cy pres to advance workers’ rights.

Abbey Spanier, LLP
Altshuler Berzon, LLP
Beaumont Costales
Berger Montague
Betz + Blevins
Blanchard & Walker PLLC
Burr & Smith, LLP
Chavez Law Firm
Cummins & Cummins, LLP
Donati Law, PLLC
Donelon, PC
Dworken & Bernstein Co., Ltd.
Eisenberg & Schnell, LLP
Fish Potter Bolaños, PC
(formerly Potter Bolaños LLC)
Bruce C. Fox
Ty Frankel & Patti Syverson
Jamie S. Franklin
Suzanne Garrow
Getman, Sweeney & Dunn, PLLC
Goldstein, Borgen, Dardarian & Ho
Law Offices of Janice Goodman
Law Offices of Geoffrey L. Gross, LLC
Haines Law Group
Hawks Quindel, SC
Hayber, McKenna & Dinsmore, LLC
Hua Gallai & Gonzales LLP

Johnson Becker, PLLC
Kern Law Firm, PC
Tuvia Korobkin
Labor Law, PC
Leventhal Lewis Kuhn Taylor Swan PC
McGuinn, Hillsman & Palefsky
Law Offices of Colleen M. McLaughlin
Rowdy Meeks Legal Group, LLC
Meizlish & Grayson
Miller O’Brien Jensen, PA
Nichols Kaster, PLLP
Law Office of Thomas D. Rutledge
Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP
Schneider Wallace Cottrell Konecky LLP
Law Offices of James M. Sitkin
Soderstrom Law PC
Sprenger & Lang, PLLC
Thomas & Solomon LLP
Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights
and Urban Affairs
Rob Wiley, PC
Woodall Law Offices

(As of November 8, 2023)


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