Call to action
Responding to those affected by the war in Ukraine
In a year of geopolitical turmoil, environmental disasters and threats to human rights, we leveraged the full spectrum of our capabilities to help address the challenges of our time.
The Firm and our people supported those affected by the war in Ukraine in multiple ways—giving financial support to charities working on the ground, organizing donation drives for emergency relief provisions, providing pro bono advice to refugees and even opening their homes to those escaping the conflict. Elsewhere, we helped refugees from Afghanistan evacuate and resettle in safer countries.
In the wake of natural disasters such as the catastrophic floods in Australia, our lawyers helped families rebuild their homes and lives. We also helped tackle long-term issues, through research on carbon rights and climate change.
In the United States, our lawyers fought for the human rights of prisoners and women: challenging the use of long-term solitary confinement and helping to develop a unique database tracking rapidly changing reproductive healthcare laws in all 50 US states.
A long-term pillar of our pro bono work has been educating and empowering the next generation of legal leaders around the world. We celebrated important milestones in two projects we support: the inaugural graduating class of Bhutan’s first and only law school and the fifth anniversary of the African Centre on Law & Ethics.
This review tells these stories and more about the ways our people donated their time, knowledge and expertise to make a positive impact on their communities and the world in 2022.
Responding to those affected by the war in Ukraine
Rebuilding houses and lives following the Australia floods
Helping refugees fleeing from Afghanistan
Protecting prisoners from the harms of long-term solitary confinement
Fighting to obtain just compensation for our client who was wrongfully convicted of murder
Improving access to justice for children
Providing access to executive clemency for women and other vulnerable groups
Building on our long history of reproductive rights pro bono work
Identifying legal frameworks for developing countries to address climate change
Free speech victory benefits endangered gray wolves
Facilitating green and blue bonds in Africa
Marking a milestone for Bhutan’s first law school
Supporting the African Centre on Law & Ethics as it trains law students and practitioners from across the continent
Deepening client relationships and boosting associates' skills
Pro bono matters from each of our offices
In February 2022 Russia's invasion of Ukraine created a refugee crisis not seen in Europe since World War II. White & Case responded to the fast-moving humanitarian crisis with multiple approaches to help Ukrainians plunged into war.
In the hours and days after the war started, people in our offices close to the conflict and as far away as Los Angeles and Tokyo quickly responded to the crisis. Twenty-five people from our Warsaw office opened their homes to refugees fleeing from Ukraine, quickly followed by colleagues in Brussels, London and Prague. Teams across Europe mobilized to collect much-needed medical supplies to send, or even in some cases deliver themselves, to the Ukrainian border. Volunteers supported local nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) by staffing emergency hotlines and sorting donated items for refugees. The Firm donated US$1 million to the Ukrainian Red Cross Society and matched employee contributions to support relief efforts.
As the war progressed, the needs of Ukrainian refugees shifted. We joined the Legal Solidarity Fund, a legal profession initiative set up by leading Polish lawyers to provide fellowships to Ukrainian legal scholars who are refugees in Poland. In addition, our Brussels, Frankfurt and Prague offices hired Ukrainian lawyers who fled the country, and in Frankfurt, we employed a Ukrainian law student via Safe Harbors 4 UA Students, a program designed to help Ukraine's displaced law students.
Associate Aleksandra Stepniewicz works alongside Ukrainian translator Jan Swiecicki to provide assistance to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Warsaw, Poland.
In addition to practical humanitarian assistance, we provided pro bono legal support to help make a positive difference in long-term outcomes for people displaced by war. For instance, we expanded our existing work with European Lawyers in Lesvos to participate in its new project in Poland, with lawyers from our Warsaw office providing legal assistance to refugees from Ukraine on a range of legal issues in five locations across the city, including the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees' information center. We also assisted Ukrainians currently living in the United States in applying for Temporary Protected Status. And in London we collaborated with Asylum Aid and other law firms to advise Ukrainians in the United Kingdom on how to extend their visas or apply for asylum, and seconded our lawyers to work with refugees in Warsaw in partnership with Safe Passage International.
"In February our on-the-ground response to the plight of Ukrainians dealt with refugees' immediate needs. Over time, we have been able to offer our services as lawyers to help address the many issues facing refugees as they start to rebuild their lives," says Aleksandra Oziemska, partner in our Warsaw office. "When someone needs our help, we have a moral obligation to step up and to use our position to improve the lives of suffering people."
Photo by Brendan Hoffman © Bespoke Reps
A gymnasium at a school in Novoyavorivsk, Ukraine, converted into a shelter for displaced Ukrainians during the Russian invasion.
Photo by © Magda Cienciala
White & Case associate Aleksandra Stepniewicz works alongside Ukrainian translator Jan Swiecicki to provide assistance to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Warsaw, Poland.