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
Once federally protected as an endangered species, gray wolves were delisted following their successful reintroduction to the Northern Rockies. Now gray wolves once again face widespread trapping and hunting—the very perils that had decimated their numbers before they won federal protection.
White & Case pro bono client International Wildlife Coexistence Network (IWCN) launched its #RelistWolvesNow campaign in October 2021 to advocate for the relisting of gray wolves on the US endangered species list.
Another advocacy organization, Wolves of the Rockies (WOTR), had launched its own campaign, #RelistWolves, a few months before the debut of IWCN's campaign. Claiming to own exclusive trademark rights in the term "RelistWolves" and the "#RelistWolves" hashtag, WOTR filed a complaint against IWCN for trademark infringement. IWCN turned to White & Case.
WOTR first filed a complaint for trademark infringement in Montana federal district court. The White & Case pro bono team, led by partner Stefan Mentzer and associate Alexander Reid in our New York office, won dismissal on personal jurisdiction grounds by persuading the court that despite being accessible to, and seen by, Montana residents, IWCN's campaign was aimed at a nationwide audience, while WOTR's was limited to Montana.
Next, WOTR sued IWCN for trademark infringement in federal district court in Idaho. White & Case defeated WOTR's motion for a preliminary injunction, persuading the court that WOTR was unlikely to succeed on the merits because WOTR did not own trademark rights in "RelistWolves" or "#RelistWolves."
"Nobody owns exclusive rights to the descriptive phrase ‘relist wolves,'" Reid explains. "The term is free for the public to use and cannot serve as a trademark because third parties already use it to advocate for protecting wolves."
Besides agreeing with White & Case's free speech defense, the court found that WOTR had not suffered irreparable harm because the organization could not prove that confusion between its campaign and IWCN's could erode WOTR's partnerships or donor base.
In December 2022 WOTR dropped all its claims, and the Idaho federal court dismissed WOTR's case. According to Reid, the ruling "preserves the right of other groups and individuals to advocate to ‘relist wolves,' and to affirm the public's First Amendment right to use common, descriptive terms to advocate for issues of public importance."
Suzanne Asha Stone, IWCN's founder and Executive Director Board President, says, "This victory allows the IWCN team to focus on its mission, which in addition to wolves, includes helping to save chimpanzees in Uganda and working on a new bill with US Senator Cory Booker that will provide federal protection for iconic species such as the American bison."
Stan Tekiela © Getty Images
Gray wolf pup and adult in central Minnesota, United States.