Global Award Nominees

PILnet’s Global Awards recognize the best pro bono legal projects undertaken in a global context. Through the awards, PILnet also seeks to encourage the development of long-lasting and substantial networks through which the legal community can better serve the public interest and advance social change.

Voting for both categories, the Global Partnership Award and the Local Impact Award, of the PILnet Global Awards was open to all 2022 Forum attendees! You must have been registered for the event to vote.

Voting is now closed. Winners will be announce on Tuesday, October 18 at the PILnet Global Awards Dinner!

Afghan Women Judges Rescue Project: International Association of Women Judges, Fried Frank LLP and DLA Piper

The IAWJ partnered with 2 firms to help Afghan women judges and their families in moving to safety around the world. Fried Frank advised IAWJ on US refugee and asylum law, submitted documentation for P1 referrals, and interfaced with US officials on policy & procedural issues. DLA Piper mobilized over 100 lawyers to screen 200 judges' cases, prepared applications for many, and recruited other firms to take more cases. Judges now in multiple countries will get counsel on asylum or other claims.

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Capturing Carbon in Forests to Stem Climate Change: White & Case LLP, UN Food and Agricultural Organization

White & Case's work with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization focused on how forests can help fight climate change. We researched reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, primarily in developing countries ("REDD+”). We prepared legal reports that analyzed challenges and opportunities on the definition and transfer of carbon rights in the context of REDD+ in twenty seven jurisdictions. The UN will use our work to promote forests as carbon sinks globally.

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Death penalty reform in Kenya: Reprieve, Linklaters LLP, Lineal

This project is a collaboration between Reprieve, Linklaters and Lineal. Reprieve has been working with Kenyan stakeholders to support on the process of resentencing death row prisoners since 2018. In 2021, Linklaters brought in the expertise of legal tech company to assist in the process of tracking and cataloguing all cases eligible for resentencing, and Linklaters lawyers track, review and summarise cases pro bono.

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Global Environmental Rule of Law Report: White & Case LLP, Vance Center for International Justice, UN Environmental Program

White & Case, together with the Vance Center for International Justice, provided the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) with an in-depth review of how environmental-protection laws are enforced in all 193 UN Member States. White & Case deployed 260 lawyers and legal staff in 35 offices, working in local languages, to provide a data-driven examination of global trends on environmental rule of law, a review of best practices in implementation, and offer recommendations for improvement.

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The Good Lobby Profs: The Good Lobby

Cross-sectional organization for the collaboration of academia & legal professionals, committed to act as a rapid response mechanism to promote, defend and strengthen democracy, human rights and the rule of law: we constantly monitor their respect across Europe and provide analysis, support and engage in "good lobby" activities. Our latest initiative has been to support four associations of European judges challenging the Council's decision to approve Poland's recovery and resilience plan.

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Gun Free South Africa Research Project: Norton Rose Fulbright SA

The Gun Free South Africa is a multi-jurisdictional research project involving a total of 19 law firms or regional offices and spanning over 17 countries from across the globe. The research comprises of a comprehensive overview of the laws which regulate the use, licensing, care and management of firearms and ammunition from across multiple jurisdictions. The core aim is to assist partners in advocating and litigating in support of firearm legislation that best protects citizens.

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Innovative responses to the war in the Ukraine: DLA Piper

DLA Piper’s response to the crisis in Ukraine, which drew on the support of lawyers from across the UK and Europe. Through a combination of online legal advice clinics and fact sheets and Know your Rights style sessions, we have been able to assist over 5000 Ukrainians, donating over 3000 hours of pro bono.

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Istanbul Convention Report Collaboration: The Advocates for Human Rights and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP

The Advocates and Akin collaborated on a groundbreaking research project exploring attacks to women’s rights, including the Istanbul Convention, a treaty to combat violence against women. The team interviewed human rights defenders (HRDs) from 19 countries under threat and convened HRDs in Croatia to gather crucial information on the attacks and effective counter-strategies. These efforts culminated in The Advocates’ publication of a 2021 report, which is used by UN bodies and HRDs globally.

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Reproductive Rights: Debevoise & Plimpton & The Center for Reproductive Rights

During 2021/22, Debevoise & Plimpton has maintained an ongoing strategic pro bono partnership with the Center for Reproductive Rights, in an effort to bring about change in countries that have rolled back women’s reproductive rights, or where those rights continue to be under assault.

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Rule 39 Pro Bono Initiative: 'The Rule 39 Pro Bono Initiative’ consisting of Dr Daria Sartori, Italian Coalition for Civil Liberties and Rights, and 8 law firms

A major collaborative project between Dr Daria Sartori, Italian Coalition for Civil Liberties and Rights, and 8 law firms. We work together, and with NGOs, to assist vulnerable asylum-seekers from any country in Rule 39 Interim Measure requests to the ECtHR. As of July 2022: over 2000 pro bono hours; assisted over 60 people from 10 countries to lodge life altering requests to the ECtHR against 7 Council of Europe Member States; safeguarded rights of over 15 children; 90% of requests successful.

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Smart Air's Pro Bono Support Scaler: Smart Air, DLA Piper, Baker Botts LLP, Weerawong, Chinnavat & Partners Ltd, SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan, Gibson Dunn and Crutcher LLP, White & Case LLP and Latham & Watkins LLP

Across 2021, Smart Air was connected with four law firms - DLA Piper, Baker Botts LLP, Weerawong, Chinnavat & Partners Ltd and SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan – across six countries to help it register the trademark of its brand and logo. This ensured its intellectual property rights are protected, allowing Smart Air’s invention to be marketed in more countries. Smart Air was also supported by Gibson Dunn and Crutcher LLP, White & Case LLP and Latham & Watkins LLP for other requests.

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Support to Venezuelan migrants in the Americas: Un Mundo sin Mordaza; Philippi Prietocarrioza Ferrero DU & Uría; Robalino Abogados; Foley Hoag LLP; Mattos Filho, Veiga Filho, Marrey Jr. e Quiroga Advogados; Morales, Besa y Cía Ltda; Richards, Cardinal, Tutzer, Zabala & Zaefferer; Thomson Reuters Foundation

With more than six million migrants, asylum-seekers and refugees from Venezuela, the Americas is facing its greatest migration crisis in recent years. Most of them lack information, documents or the required permits to legally stay in host countries. TrustLaw, Un Mundo sin Mordaza and law firms from 7 countries in the Americas developed a guide on the legal requirements and procedures migrants and asylum-seekers should follow to legally stay in these countries or regularize their situation.

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Ukraine Emergency Response: AsyLex

AsyLex provides online legal advice for people affected by the current war in the Ukraine. Not only via a Chatbot but also by providing individual legal assistance through Facebook and email. Our volunteers and employees work tirelessly to ensure rapid response and timely information. Hundreds of refugees from Ukraine, and thousands worldwide, could already profit from high-quality, free, online support. To ensure rapid assistance beyond Switzerland, AsyLex cooperates with various organizations.

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United for Ukraine Legal Aid Tool: United for Ukraine

United for Ukraine as a project was created on the third day of the war. Together with a technology provider BRYTER we created a legal tech tool that connects Ukrainian refugees with pro bono lawyers. With help of more than 100 legal partners from 20 jurisdictions in Europe and the U.S. we have managed to provide individual legal support in more than 4.700 cases. We plan to expand our service from immediate individual relief to Ukrainian businesses and start-ups.

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$4.2 billion victory for students in New York: White & Case LLP and Education Law Center

A White & Case team of 59 lawyers and 21 legal assistants across 8 offices partnered with the Education Law Center and another firm to force New York State to accept a landmark $4.2 billion settlement on equitable public-education funding. NYS had a terrible track record of underfunding public education, especially for the most vulnerable and needy. Our strategic class-action case and relentless lawyering forced NYS to properly fund education not just for our clients but for all children in NYS.

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Access to Justice for 400: Hope Behind Bars Africa

Our project is Access to Justice for 400 pre-trial detainees, In Nigeria, 7 out of every 10 incarcerated persons are pre-trial detainees. Through our access to justice and education for justice interventions, we provide free legal services to indigent persons within the criminal justice system. We have provided access to justice to over 200 indigent persons.

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Advancing Access to Justice in Cambodia: Cambodia Bridges to Justice

Cambodia Bridges to Justice has changed the landscape of access to justice for millions of Cambodians. We are the only organisation that focuses on the rights of all accused. Our programming has been at the forefront of systemic change - placing lawyers in courthouses and institutionalizing legal aid. Within year, our pro bono lawyers have represented 143 accused across 9 provinces. We have also been working together with the OHCHR to reduce the backlog of long-standing appeals.

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Afghanistan Appeal: Irish Rule of Law International

In 2021, IRLI joined a coalition to establish the Afghanistan Appeal to assist female Afghan judges and their families who fled their homes after the Taliban came to power and relocated to Ireland. This programme is the first of its kind. We have provided resources and support for the support for these families including accommodation and financial assistance and ways to connect practically, socially, and professionally.

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A.Ss.I.S.T - Refugee Legal Support in Greece: A.Ss.I.S.T - Asylum Seekers Information Services Team

Access to free legal aid and to information continues to be a major service gap for asylum seekers (AS) and beneficiaries of international protection (BIPs). A.Ss.I.S.T. services include, but are not limited to: legal information helpline, information and Q&A sessions, registrations of new asylum claims, legal Consults for individual legal issues, preparation for interviews(s), appeals, subsequent application.

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Campaign to beat back an attack on Kenya's forests: International Lawyers Project and East African Wild Life Society

Last year Kenya’s Parliament suddenly announced an unconstitutional repeal of a core safeguard in Kenya’s Forestry Law. If passed, this repeal will reopen the floodgates to industrial-scale destruction of Kenya’s forests. ILP provided legal support and helped EAWLS make representations to Parliament, propose international best practice improvements to forest protection policy and prepare for potential litigation. As a result, the Parliament did not push through with the proposed amendment.

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Child Rights Centre with Chatbot service: Hintalovon Child Rights Foundation

Our Child Rights Centre was established to provide direct representation of the rights of children in Hungary. The Child Rights Centre aims to reduce the number of children’s rights violations and to provide high-quality counselling on children’s rights in cases where children under 18 are involved.

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Hopes and Dreams: Protecting Ukrainian Culture: Hogan Lovells, Robinson Patman, Odesa Fine Arts Museum

We are instructed by the Odesa Fine Arts Museum (OFAM) after the invasion of Russia to provide advice on the Protection the Cultural Property in Conflict. We are also providing funding to OFAM, where the Deputy Director is acting as a hub for many museum collections to provide funding for protective materials. We advising on applications to the UN Rapporteur on Culture/ UNESCO and the ICC to establish investigations. Working in collaboration with Kyiv law firm Robinson Patman.

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Immigration4Ukraine: UPJ Pro Bono Rechtsberatung (Clearinghouse Germany) and Pro Bono Deutschland

https://immigration4ukraine.eu offers refugees from Ukraine legal information on arriving and living in Germany via an online platform (En/De/Ru/Uk). Since April 2022, UPJ Pro Bono Rechtsberatung has been managing the project in cooperation with Pro Bono Deutschland. The offer is available throughout Germany. The legal information is provided in two formats: 1) easy-to-understand legal information available online in the form of FAQs 2) matching platform for individual legal counselling

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KIND Ireland Project: The Immigrant Council of Ireland, The Irish Refugee Council, Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), Arthur Cox LLP, A&L Goodbody LLP, Dechert LLP, Simmons & Simmons, DLA Piper, Microsoft, LinkedIn

The KIND Ireland Project matches unaccompanied minor refugees with pro bono lawyers for legal representation in applications for family reunification. The project is a collaboration between the Immigrant Council of Ireland & the Irish Refugee Council, who train & support the pro bono partners throughout the referrals. Through the project, over 100 unaccompanied minors have received child friendly legal representation in a complex process, and 16 families have already been granted reunification.

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Legal helpdesk for asylum seekers in Belgium: Brussels Bar Association; Vluchtelingenwerk Vlaanderen (NGO); 33 international and national law firms

The Brussels Bar and Vluchtelingenwerk collaborated with 30+ law firms and immigration specialists to create the Brussels legal helpdesk in response to the reception crisis ongoing in Belgium. Since April 2022, we provide every day legal information and assistance to hundreds of asylum seekers who are denied access to reception conditions. We file individual court cases against the state to ensure that asylum seekers are provided with appropriate accommodation, food and medical care.

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Legal Training for Civil Rights of LGBTI Salvadora: ALDES Asistencia Legal Para Diversidad Sexual-El Salvador

ALDES Asistencia Legal Para Diversidad Sexual-El Salvador is an NGO based in San Salvador. Its purpose: to promote the health, security, dignity and civil rights of LGBTX Salvadorans through legislation and legal empowerment with three-objectives: Promote country's legislation for the right to express ones gender ID including name change, hate crimes protection, and anti-discrimination laws

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Pro bono mobilised to assist Afghan community: Irish Refugee Council and Immigrant Council of Ireland

The IRC and ICI both operate expert independent law centres providing specialist legal advice in refugee law. The fall of the Afghan government resulted in several thousand queries from Afghans in Ireland seeking to bring their family to safety here. The aim of the project was to provide timely, professional legal representation to members of the Afghan Irish community so they could reunite with family members at risk of persecution from the Taliban.

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Protecting journalists during protests in the US: Committee to Protect Journalists, Allen & Overy, TrustLaw (Thomson Reuters Foundation)

TrustLaw, the Committee to Protect Journalists (US non-profit), and law firm Allen & Overy, developed a ‘Know Your Rights’ guide for journalists covering protests in the US. The guide filled a gap in the safety information available to journalists in the US and has been shared by CPJ with journalists and newsrooms ahead of several planned protests following the summer of 2020. It has been read more than 1,000 times on CPJ’s website and continues to be circulated amongst media professionals.

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Rights for Change: Fernando Pombo Foundation and Trabe Association

The aim of the project is to improve the victims and survivors of human trafficking access to rights in Spain. Therefore, we are working in network with pro bono lawyers from Gómez-Acebo & Pombo and other law firms, bar associations, other legal and social experts specialized on human trafficking, NGOs, universities and legal clinics. We have been analysing the social-legal barriers affected by victims, resolving complex cases and creating practical guides and legal recommendations.

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Shawn Williams Compensation Representation: White & Case

Shawn Williams was wrongfully convicted of murder in 1992 due to corrupt police action. White & Case partner Sam Hershey earlier won his release from prison on actual innocence grounds. Now, Sam and a team of White & Case associates won a record $10.5 million settlement from the New York City in compensation for the injustice that Shawn suffered during 20 years in prison. The team worked for years in a federal action and the win gives Shawn a chance to reclaim his life after so much was lost.

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Supporting Georgia in Climate Change Negotiations: DLA Piper/New Perimeter; Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Protection of Georgia

New Perimeter provides assistance to the Government of Georgia's Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Protection to support the country's participation in international climate change negotiations, helping Georgia to better advocate for its interest and address structural imbalances of power within the UN system.

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Support for local environmental social enterprise: Everyday Plastic and Charles Russell Speechlys

We provided corporate advice on a major collaboration between local environmental social enterprise Everyday Plastic and Greenpeace UK. The project aims to tackle the everyday use of plastic in the UK, with the overall goal of convincing the government, big brands and supermarkets to take ambitious action on plastic packaging. The social enterprise intends to keep growing the survey sample and expand the data it is able to collect, until they start to see a change.

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Supporting social enterprise working with homeless: Emmaus North Staffs and Charles Russell Speechlys

We provided real estate advice for local social enterprise Emmaus North Staffs, who provide a supportive home and meaningful work to people who have experienced homelessness. The advice related to a major premises move, which the social enterprise was facing in a very short timeframe. From these new premises, which opened to the public in May 2022, Emmaus will sell new and used furniture and household goods and will also provide workshops for the public.

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Virtual Legal Clinic: JC Legal

JC Legal launched the Virtual Legal Clinic in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. It enables anyone who encounters legal challenges in business, career and personal life to ask a lawyer securely online for as low as HK$800. With Maggie’s Centre as charity partner, we donate part of our fees to support its users, encouraging people to help others while helping themselves. As of May 2022, the Virtual Legal Clinic has touched 40+ lives and donated HK$10,000+.

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