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 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.

A model partnership

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


3 min read

Over the course of 2023, nearly 80 "Amazonians" and more than 160 White & Case lawyers and legal staff collaborated on four pro bono projects.

We began our pro bono collaboration with Amazon in 2018 and have completed one global project a year. Following the success of last year's initial matter—a global research project for the International Legal Foundation (ILF)—we worked with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to provide a set of additional pro bono opportunities for AWS legal professionals in 2023.

This collaboration led to the creation and delivery of three additional projects, namely, for Human Right 2 Water, the Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice and The Legal Aid Society in New York.

"Pro bono service is incredibly important to members of Amazon's legal department, and our collaboration with White & Case and other like-minded partners amplifies our efforts to provide pro bono assistance to clients without meaningful access to justice and other worthwhile causes," says David Zapolsky, Senior Vice President, Global Public Policy and General Counsel of Amazon.

Strengthening the right to criminal counsel

Our work for the International Legal Foundation (ILF) came at the ten-year anniversary of the adoption of the UN Principles and Guidelines on Access to Legal Aid in Criminal Justice Systems. More than 80 Amazonians and White & Case lawyers and legal staff researched the extent to which two dozen countries comply with Principle 3, the right to counsel for all persons suspected of or charged with a criminal offense. The ILF presented our findings at a session of the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in May 2023 and is using our research to advocate for stronger legal aid around the world. Amazon featured the project in its 2023 Pro Bono Report.

Safeguarding the human right to water and sanitation

Our second project of 2023, and first collaboration with Amazon subsidiary AWS, was for Human Right 2 Water (HR2W). The nonprofit had observed that certain countries claim to recognize the rights to water and sanitation without explicitly enshrining these rights in their constitutions, as the right is often understood to be covered by other national laws or human rights protections. To help HR2W understand how the right to water and sanitation can be directly and indirectly obtained, 45 Amazonians and White & Case lawyers and legal staff researched the interpretation of these rights in case law in 20 countries.

Upholding journalistic freedoms

We also partnered with AWS to help Reporters Shield, a project spearheaded by the Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice, that defends media organizations against defamation claims. Our teams researched journalistic freedoms in 18 countries, looking into topics such as the statutory elements of defamation, invasion of privacy and data protection violations, the statutory defenses to these actions and the procedural requirements for bringing such actions. More than 70 Amazonians and White & Case lawyers and legal staff contributed to this effort.

Helping individuals with a criminal history regain their lives

For our final pro bono collaboration of the year, again with AWS, more than 45 Amazon and White & Case lawyers and legal staff worked on the Case Closed Project, an initiative of The Legal Aid Society that helps individuals seal decades-old criminal records. The project—a signature initiative of the Firm's Racial Justice Task Force—partners lawyers with people seeking assistance with the complicated process. A successful sealing can eliminate debilitating barriers to employment, housing and basic government benefits, helping people to move forward with their lives.

"Amazon and White & Case have delivered wonderful pro bono projects since 2018, but our work together in 2023 takes our pro bono collaboration to a new level," says Washington, DC partner and Amazon Global Relationship Partner Claire DeLelle. "Our combined efforts provide a model for how clients and counsel can leverage their legal resources to benefit communities around the world. We are excited to see what we can accomplish in 2024, not only with Amazon, but with our many other clients committed to pro bono collaborations."

Nine White & Case and Amazon lawyers pose with the Honorable Rowan D. Wilson, Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals, at the Legal Aid Society’s 2023 Pro Bono Publico Awards, where the Firm and Amazon won an Outstanding Service award. Standing in a semi-circle, from left to right: Steven Kobby Lartey (Amazon), Steven Lutt, Sylvia Precht, Hannah Rubashkin, Judge Wilson (presenter), Claire DeLelle, Eva María González (Amazon), Jasmine Armand, Jennifer Lee, Travis Long (Amazon).
White & Case and Amazon lawyers pose with the 2023 Pro Bono Publico Award for Outstanding Service from the Legal Aid Society. From left to right: Steven Kobby Lartey (Amazon), Steven Lutt, Sylvia Precht, Hannah Rubashkin, the Honorable Rowan D. Wilson, Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals (presenter), Claire DeLelle, Eva María González (Amazon), Jasmine Armand, Jennifer Lee, Travis Long (Amazon).

Photo by © Andrey Denisyuk / GettyImages
The New York County Supreme Court in lower Manhattan in New York City.