White & Case part of “Pro Bono Initiative of the Year” for Ukraine effort

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The Ukraine Pro Bono Collaborative has won the “Pro Bono Initiative of the Year” award at The Lawyer European Awards 2023. The project team comprises six law firms, including White & Case LLP, and Greek NGO European Lawyers in Lesvos (ELIL).

Based in Warsaw, the project brings together Polish and Ukrainian pro bono lawyers to provide legal information and assistance to refugees arriving from Ukraine. Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine in 2022, almost one million refugees have fled to Poland. ELIL is involved due to its experience in organizing free legal support for refugees, having established a collaborative pro bono project for refugees in Greece in 2019, of which White & Case is a member.

The work involves lawyers taking turns to provide daily coverage at one of five sites in Warsaw, assisting with in-person and telephone inquiries. They advise on a wide range of issues including access to accommodation, children's rights and guardianship, employment, setting up a business, social welfare, passports and IDs, residency permits, returning to Ukraine, and travel to other countries.

Over the past year, lawyers from the Collaborative have provided more than 3,000 hours of free legal advice and have assisted nearly 5,400 people. Of those, 71 percent were women, many of whom were seeking assistance on behalf of their children. The other members of the project are Allen & Overy, Bird & Bird, Dentons, Hogan Lovells and Norton Rose Fulbright.