2023 Global Citizenship Review

What's inside

Highlights of our pro bono and volunteering efforts

A message from our Chair

White & Case’s Global Citizenship initiative is a cornerstone of our Firm, and our 2023 pro bono and charitable work was driven by both passion and purpose. This review tells these stories and demonstrates what we can accomplish by focusing our knowledge and resources on the challenges of our time.

In the United States, our Racial Justice Task Force worked to seal decades-old criminal records for pro bono clients, enabling them to pursue better employment, housing and educational opportunities. Relying on a law that addresses sentencing disparities that disproportionately affect Black people, we secured freedom for individuals who had served lengthy sentences imposed when they were under the age of 25 years. Our externship program with Historically Black Colleges and Universities enabled students to work with us on racial justice pro bono matters.

Across conflict-torn regions, our lawyers advocated for asylum-seekers and other forced migrants. As the war in Ukraine continued, we helped eligible refugees obtain UK visas and began researching critical issues that included how Ukraine will finance its eventual reconstruction.

We also secured critical rights for girls. In the US, we helped end child marriage in three states and collaborated on draft legislation to change the federal laws that enable it. In Kenya, we structured a Development Impact Bond that funds sexual and reproductive health care for teenaged girls.

On the environmental front, our lawyers analyzed the constitutions of every country in the world to help ensure access to clean drinking water and sanitation as a human right. Our work also included designing a debt-for-nature swap in Southeast Asia, which will preserve hundreds of square miles of coral reefs.

We retained our focus on educating and empowering the next generation of legal leaders. Key initiatives included training Kenyan lawyers on developments in arbitration law and expanding our support of the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot for law students in Africa, Central Asia and Eastern Europe.

Our efforts had tangible benefits for people around the world, and I am immensely proud of what we have accomplished together. Our work continues and evolves, grounded in the belief that the law can be a force for positive transformation on a global scale.

Heather K. McDevitt, Chair

Our inaugural Global Citizenship campaign

The Firm's first Global Citizenship campaign focuses Firmwide efforts to amplify impact

Elevate: investing in the next generation

Our new Global Citizenship campaign concentrates the Firm's volunteering and charitable giving efforts on investing in youth through education, empowerment and employability

A silhouetted view of five children playing outside a hot air balloon decorated in squares of red, yellow, orange, blue and black.
© leelaryonkul / Adobestock

Access to justice

Highlights include the expansion of our Racial Justice Task Force and our efforts on behalf of asylum-seekers and refugees

A force for good

Multipronged effort helps individuals disproportionately affected by our criminal justice system and addresses racial injustice

A group of five multi-generational family members, three male, two female, embrace in a backyard with their backs to the camera.
© Ryan J. Lane / GettyImages

Advancing human rights

Our work focused on protecting women's rights and providing humanitarian assistance and legal aid for Ukraine

Pro bono in wartime

Firm provides humanitarian and legal aid to Ukraine

A female volunteer, right, and Ukrainian refugee woman, left, sit on steps in a train station, both looking at a document the volunteer is holding and explaining.
© Halfpoint Images / GettyImages

An impactful bond

Structuring a Development Impact Bond that enhances reproductive health services for girls in Kenya

A community nurse, left, shares information on a clipboard with three teenage girls, right. The group stands by a wooden fence in front of a shack in an informal settlement in Africa.
© Wilpunt / GettyImages

Ending child marriage in the United States

Momentum continues to build as we helped change laws in three more states, bringing the total to ten states

Two teenage girls facing each other raise their fists against a late-afternoon blue sky. One girl, left, looks up, while the other, right, looks into the distance. The wind blows their hair.
© Hello World / GettyImages

Environmental action

We used our legal skills to safeguard the human right to water and draft an innovative debt-for-nature swap

Swapping debt for nature

The Firm's latest debt-for-nature swap was among the first to tap into a newly reauthorized US law

Image from a camera half-submerged in the tropical waters of Lissenung Island, Papua New Guinea. Under water, dense and varied green coral is visible. Above water, an island and a person paddling a traditional outrigger canoe are silhouetted against a vibrant orange sunset.
© Grant Thomas

Clean water, effective sanitation

Our legal research for Human Right 2 Water helps push essential needs toward becoming legally protected human rights

Two pairs of hands, one left, one right, wash leafy greens in a red bucket, under a stream of water from a water gravity system in a village in northern Sierra Leone. The water is drawn from a local mountain.
© Karen Kasmauski / GettyImages

Educating future leaders

Building legal capacity by training practitioners and future lawyers in developing countries

Training the next generation of international lawyers

The Firm expanded its Vis Moot training to students in Central Asia and Eastern Europe

A nighttime view of the Wiener Staatsoper (Vienna State Opera) in Vienna, Austria. The Neo-Renaissance building is warmly lit, inside and out. Light from traffic appears as red and white streaks in the left foreground.
© MadrugadaVerde / GettyImages

Trailblazing jurist Florence Mumba receives White & Case Distinguished Jessup Alumni Award

The competition opens doors and shapes careers for many law students around the world

A distant view of the Supreme Court of Zambia, in the country's capital of Lusaka. The red-brick, two-story building features white columns along the main facade and a pair of white lion sculptures enclosing the wide entrance steps. A large palm tree stands to the left, and three flagpoles to the right.
© Mtcurado / GettyImages

Dispute alternatives

Training programs help Nairobi's push to become a preferred venue for dispute resolution

Lawyers in traditional black gowns and light-colored wigs walk up a winding concrete ramp as they arrive at the Supreme Court of Kenya, in Nairobi, to be admitted to the Bar in November 2023. Some are also wearing sunglasses.
© Simon Maina / GettyImages

About pro bono

A truly global Pro Bono practice

Our work focuses on providing access to justice, serving organizations with a social or environmental mission and promoting the rule of law and good sovereign governance

Pro bono hours and participation

105,550pro bono hours in 2023

100k+ pro bono hours for the seventh consecutive year

100% of our offices and practices do pro bono work


125+ partners and counsel serve as pro bono leaders

800+ pro bono matters in 2023


A model partnership

Amazon and White & Case raise the bar on pro bono collaborations with four projects in 2023 

A view of the portico of the New York County Supreme Court, in lower Manhattan in New York City. Above its columns, the portico is engraved with the motto, "The true administration of justice is the firmest pillar of good government." Sun shines on the top left corner.
© Andrey Denisyuk / GettyImages

Reconciling differences

White & Case teams up with Jawun to support Australia's Indigenous communities

A close-up view of 28 colorfully decorated flags that form the art installation "United Neytions," which hangs in Sydney Airport. Each flag represents one of the original Aboriginal nations and is decorated in varying combinations of stripes, dots, spirals, diamonds and stars, in a color palette of orange, green, black, red, yellow and white. The work is by artist Archie Moore, a member of Australia's Kamilaroi Indigenous nation.
© Moksh Bhatia / Shutterstock

Learn more

For more information about our commitment and activities, please visit our Global Citizenship web pages.


Photo by © Sinology / GettyImages
Sunset in a city park in China.

A nighttime view of the Wiener Staatsoper (Vienna State Opera) in Vienna, Austria. The Neo-Renaissance building is warmly lit, inside and out. Light from traffic appears as red and white streaks in the left foreground.

Training the next generation of international lawyers

The Firm expanded its Vis Moot training to students in Central Asia and Eastern Europe


4 min read

The Firm has a long history of supporting the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot (Vis Moot), from organizing pre-moots and a colloquium to training and coaching teams. In 2023, in collaboration with the US Department of Commerce's Commercial Law Development Program (CLDP), we expanded our support to provide in-person workshops for law students in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Pakistan, Poland, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

White & Case's collaboration with CLDP—which works with developing and transitional countries to support the rule of law and to promote the policy, legal and regulatory conditions for doing business—began in 2022 with providing international coaching for Vis Moot teams across Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and with a training session for lawyers and judges in Sri Lanka seeking to better understand international law and alternative dispute resolution in a business context.

"CLDP's goals and efforts are directly related to the skills the Vis teaches these future legal practitioners, so it makes sense that our work with one has fed into our relationship to the other," says Washington, DC partner Matthew Drossos who, along with counsel Jennifer Ivers, leads the Firm's efforts with this initiative.

Celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2023, the Vis Moot competition attracts students from more than 300 law schools worldwide and helps them develop skills and knowledge on the resolution of global business disputes through arbitration. Throughout the competition students present written submissions and argue a mock commercial arbitration dispute before panels of highly regarded volunteer scholars, judges and lawyers.

In 2023, the Firm's collaboration with CLDP grew with the development and presentation of training sessions to law students in Central Asian and Eastern European countries. More than 20 White & Case lawyers from six of our offices taught interactive lectures and practical sessions on international commercial and investor-state arbitration. The students also received an introduction to the Vis Moot, including best practices for legal research, writing and oral advocacy.

"The sessions provided many students with their first exposure to international law and international dispute resolution," says Ivers. "These training programs go beyond preparing for a law school moot competition and extend to preparing the next generation of international lawyers in the region."

Following the training sessions, White & Case lawyers coached teams throughout Eastern Europe and Central Asia as they prepared for the Vis Moot—taking place in March 2024 in Vienna, Austria and Hong Kong—with many of them meeting weekly.

"Firm lawyers have built great relationships with the students through this training," says Drossos, "and we look forward to watching their careers develop and continuing our relationship with CLDP."


Unique colloquium prepares 350+ students for the Vis Moot
In October 2023, the Firm held the sixth edition of its White & Case Vis Colloquium, an annual event designed to help law students prepare for the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot Competition (Vis Moot) held in Vienna, Austria and Hong Kong each spring. Twenty of our lawyers from ten offices joined other international arbitration practitioners and academics to teach topics such as legal research, drafting persuasive submissions and presenting oral arguments. Simultaneous gatherings were organized by 11 of our EMEA offices—the highest number to date—in Astana, Brussels, Frankfurt, Geneva, London, Madrid, Milan, Paris, Prague, Stockholm and Warsaw. Approximately 220 students and coaches attended in person at a White & Case office, and another 150 participants took part by videoconference.

Unlocking the potential of international commercial arbitration in Africa
As part of the Firm's longstanding support of the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot Competition (Vis Moot), two lawyers from our New York office shared their knowledge and expertise with law students participating in the Vis Moot in collaboration with Africa in the Moot (AitM) as part of its Education and Training Series. Partner Jennifer Glasser and associate Efat Elsherif, a former Vis competitor, delivered a virtual talk on the art of oral advocacy, sharing firsthand experience with students from sub-Saharan African universities to support their preparation for the 2023 Vis Moot. AitM was founded in 2021 and currently supports 17 Vis Moot teams from 12 African countries through coaching, funding, access to research tools and the only in-person pre-moot in sub-Saharan Africa, a region severely underrepresented in the Vis Moot. As a result, AitM is unlocking the potential of international commercial arbitration and dispute resolution in Africa and plugging the next generation of African lawyers into the global arbitration community.

Photo by © MadrugadaVerde / GettyImages
The Wiener Staatsoper (Vienna State Opera) in Vienna, Austria.