Herbert Smith Freehills has a significant history of providing pro bono legal services to clients ranging from non-government organisations, developing country governments and legal clinics to marginalised and disadvantaged individuals. We are extremely proud of the outcomes our clients achieve for the communities in which we live and work, and the relationships and reputation we have built along the way.
Pro bono work is woven into the fabric of our firm. It’s an opportunity that is not only available to all our lawyers, but is regarded as an essential part of our professional responsibility as global corporate citizens. Reflecting our values, pro bono legal work is treated in exactly the same manner as any other client work.
Our pro bono priorities
Because we operate in regions with diverse pro bono cultures, it makes sense to focus our pro bono practice on ways to help strengthen the fundamental principle on which justice is based– the rule of law. We also prioritise matters and projects that focus on social inclusion and capacity building in communities of need, as well as using our core skills to act on climate change. We place enormous emphasis on skill sharing, training and collaboration with our pro bono clients, whether they are well established global charities, community legal centres, or an innovative thought-leader in community service delivery.
Some recent examples include:
- Bridges Across Borders Southeast Asia Community Legal Education (BABSEA CLE) - we provide legal training and develop resources for lawyers, faculty members and law students in the region on topics of professional responsibility, access to justice and evidence.
- Supporting the Women’s Homelessness Prevention Project, which aims to keep women and children experiencing or at risk of homelessness in housing through a combination of legal services and social work support.
- A Fair Deal Sierra Leone – Herbert Smith Freehills’ long-term partnership with the Government of Sierra Leone to provide advice pro bono as it builds capacity to manage inward investment into the country.
Pro bono’s endless variety
Around the world, our lawyers advocate for pro bono clients on a diverse range of legal matters. On any given day, one lawyer could be volunteering at a legal clinic, providing a homeless mother with advice about her rights; another might be writing a policy submission to government to recommend changes in legislation; while yet another could be part of a cross-border team preparing for a court appearance supporting the rights of individuals.
A global outlook
As a global law firm, we are well placed to respond to regional and cross-border issues through pro bono support. For example, we recently brought together a team from across the firm’s global network to research policies, legislation and regulation relating to labour exploitation in 11 countries for our client Focus on Labour Exploitation (FLEX). The team created the Labour Exploitation Accountability Database (at www.accountabilityhub.org), which provides a broad inventory of national laws and regulations addressing corporate accountability for severe labour exploitation in supply chains, helping improve government and corporate accountability.