As servants and stewards of the law, we are charged with a special responsibility to advance the cause of justice and give back to our communities. To this end, we frequently take on challenging, creative, and rewarding projects that seek to tackle important issues of wider significance and which are consistent with our values.
We are committed to upholding the rule of law and delivering access to justice for those most in need. Our pro bono work and initiatives are not limited only to those locations where we have offices or qualified lawyers. If there is a way that we can use our resources and connections to assist those in need, we will do so regardless of geography.
Our lawyers and professional support staff are encouraged to participate in a variety of initiatives that can make a meaningful contribution to the world at large. In line with this, we set no hourly targets or limits to the time that our team spend on pro bono work. This allows us to remain fluid and commit the necessary resources to challenging causes.
We have established a Pro Bono Committee made up of both lawyers and staff across our firm. The Committee’s role is to grow our pro bono practice, especially by developing relationships with organisations to collaborate on pro bono matters. The Committee also ensures that our resources are deployed effectively and our pro bono clients receive the same resources as our billable clients would expect.
With our commitment extending to all members of our firm, our pro bono clients receive the full benefit of our resources, including business services such as IT, marketing/PR, risk, and finance.
Our partners have included Advocates for International Development, Baylor College of Medicine International Paediatric AIDS Initiative, Birthrights, Equality Now, International Refugee Assistance Project, Pro Bono Connect, REDRESS, Global Legal Action Network, Legal Response International, and the Good Law Project.
In addition, we have worked with leading human rights barristers’ chambers and have taken on projects for commercial clients, engaging with their teams about pro bono issues that are important to their company, their communities, and their cause-based objectives.
We welcome approaches from organisations and individuals looking for assistance. Please contact us at [email protected].
Working with human rights organisation REDRESS, we prepared a merits submission on behalf of Mariam Yahia Ibraheem and her family against Sudan, before the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. The case concerns Sudan’s discriminatory and degrading treatment of Mariam on the basis of her religion and gender. Mariam managed to leave Sudan, and after meeting the Pope in the Vatican, reached safety in the United States.
Mariam and her family seek a number of remedies from Sudan, including a prompt and impartial investigation of Mariam’s arrest, trial and treatment in custody, and a public apology from Sudan for the human rights violations suffered. This case received renewed international media attention following Sudan’s announcement that it will be reforming its laws to abolish the crime of apostasy.
Members of our team across all offices have, for a number of years, worked with the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP), an organisation dedicated to assisting refugees from the Middle East and Asia. Working with prominent US-based law schools, members of the team have coordinated the legal advice and application process for refugees.
One prominent example includes the case of Demssew Tsega Abebe, which received nationwide U.S. media attention. Demssew was a renowned marathon runner in Ethiopia and was expected to be on his country’s Olympic team. In response to peaceful protests against his government, Demssew was tortured, forcing him to flee to Washington, DC in 2016. He had been trying to bring his wife and two children to the U.S. ever since, in part to get medical care for his 5-year-old son. Our team filed an Application for Humanitarian Parole on behalf of his wife and young children. Although such Application is an exceptional form of relief, which is granted only in rare cases, the team’s application– which was supported by letters from five members of the U.S. Congress – was granted and allowed Demssew to be reunited with his family.
We assembled an international team of lawyers and high-profile amici to submit an amicus curiae brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in support of Bobby James Moore, an individual who had been on death row for over 35 years and in solitary confinement for over 14 years. The brief focused on the approach of non-U.S. courts, together with international tribunals and commissions, on the legality of extended periods of incarceration on death row. We addressed, from an international and comparative (i.e., non-U.S.) perspective, whether execution following an extended period of incarceration would be unconstitutional or against international human rights norms. The issue was relevant to assist the Court in determining whether Moore’s execution would breach the U.S. Constitution’s Eighth Amendment prohibition on “cruel and unusual punishment.”
The Court granted certiorari on other grounds and ultimately held that Texas’ test for determining intellectual disability was inconsistent with the Eighth Amendment, as Texas relied upon an outdated definition of intellectual disability to determine whether the death penalty could be imposed. The Court remanded the case to the Texas courts for resentencing. Bobby was eventually released on parole in June 2020.
We act as lead counsel for a media group against a Latin American State in a claim filed before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. The State’s imposition of various penalties on the company violated the company owners’ and employees’ rights of freedom of expression and rights to property. The proceeding seeks to obtain full compensation for the victims of the violations under the American Convention on Human Rights.