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Herbert Smith Freehills has launched its first Community Engagement Awards, which aims to showcase the very best social projects being spearheaded by law students across India and support those who are creating a positive impact in their communities. 

The firm is calling for entries, from individuals or teams of law students across India, which highlight projects or initiatives that are creating a sustainable impact on their communities.

This competition has two categories. The first category is 'Community Investment Through Legal Work'.  Projects entered into this category should focus on  legal work such as: NGO internships; advisory work; case work; legal research; policy development; training/capacity building; legal drafting; contract review and/or pro-bono partnerships.

The second category, 'Community Contribution Through Volunteering', should focus on non-legal work. Projects entered into this can involve: working in partnership with the local community, charity or NGO; tackling issues affecting a community; delivering social value; and demonstrating potential for a wider impact.

Candidates are being asked to submit a short film (2-5 minutes in length); supported by up to 700 words, explaining more about the project and how the £2,000 prize money would make a difference to the non-profit partners they may be involved with. All entries should be submitted by 15 July 2016.

Winners will be selected by the Herbert Smith Freehills Community Engagement Working Committee, which includes members of the firm's India Practice. Successful projects will be announced at a formal ceremony, in India, in September this year.

This project has grown out of the firm's longstanding work with law schools across India and most recently through the Herbert Smith Freehills' Bridge project (HSF Bridge), which seeks to provide a link between students at Indian law schools and socially relevant projects. The firm also supports projects such as: LittleBigHelp, which cares for street children near Howrah railway station in Kolkata; and the IDIA (Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access), which aims to empower marginalised communities through legal education.

Chris Parsons, Chairman of Herbert Smith Freehills' India Practice, commented:

"Law students have an abundance of skills and tools at their disposal to make a huge difference to their communities and I am looking forward to highlighting some of those initiatives through our Community Engagement Awards. We believe that volunteering helps to develop well-rounded individuals and helps law students develop the ability to communicate and work with a diverse range of people. This benefits the students' communities and also helps us identify the types of high calibre candidates we aim to recruit."

For more details about the awards, please visit our website: or our Facebook page:


About Herbert Smith Freehills
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Chris Parsons photo

Chris Parsons

Partner and chair of the India group, London

Chris Parsons

India Group Chris Parsons