2022 Global Citizenship Review

What's inside

Highlights from our Global Pro Bono Practice and Global Citizenship initiative

A message from our Chair

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.

Hugh Verrier, Chair

Emergency response

We mobilized to help those escaping crises

Call to action

Responding to those affected by the war in Ukraine

Ukraine response
Brendan Hoffman © Bespoke Reps

In the wake of the storm

Rebuilding houses and lives following the Australia floods

Australia floods
Brendan McCarthy © AAP

Safe passage

Helping refugees fleeing from Afghanistan

gc afghan refugees
American Photo Archive © Alamy Stock Photo

ESG & pro bono

While two distinct areas, ESG and pro bono can overlap and even complement each other

Navigating the difference between ESG and pro bono

A conversation with Jacquelyn MacLennan, EU competition and trade law partner, Global Pro Bono Practice Leader (2015 – 2022) and Business & Human Rights Interest Group member

Navigating the difference between ESG and pro bono
© James Cannon Photography

Access to justice

Highlights include a historic civil rights settlement and work to end solitary confinement

Isolated for life

Protecting prisoners from the harms of long-term solitary confinement

Justice solitary
Michael M. Santiago © Getty Images

Journey to justice

Fighting to obtain just compensation for our client who was wrongfully convicted of murder

Justice Shawn Williams
Holly Pickett © The New York Times/Redux

Advancing human rights

Our work focused on the rights of women and children

A holistic approach

Improving access to justice for children

A holistic approach juvenile defense
Gustavo Oliveira © WBR Photo

The problem with pardons

Providing access to executive clemency for women and other vulnerable groups

Rights vance center pardons
Kansas City Star © Getty Images

Reproductive freedoms

Building on our long history of reproductive rights pro bono work

Rights roe v wade
Ian Waldie © Getty Images

Environmental action

We used our skills to help protect our environment and support climate action

Carbon rights

Identifying legal frameworks for developing countries to address climate change

Carbon rights
Michael Melford © Bespoke

Call of the wild

Free speech victory benefits endangered gray wolves

Call of the wild gray wolves
Stan Tekiela © Getty Images

A sustainable bond

Facilitating green and blue bonds in Africa

Environment ECON Africa Green bonds
Justin Jin © Bespoke

Educating future leaders

Two of our legal education programs come full circle in Bhutan and Ghana

First class

Marking a milestone for Bhutan’s first law school

© JSW Law

An ethical foundation

Supporting the African Centre on Law & Ethics as it trains law students and practitioners from across the continent

Africa legal ethics
David Malan © Getty Images

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

122,152pro bono hours in 2022

100k+ pro bono hours for the sixth consecutive year
100% of our offices and practices do pro bono work

160+ partners and counsel serve as pro bono leaders
900+ pro bono matters in 2022


Pro bono secondments

Deepening client relationships and boosting associates' skills

Pro bono secondments
© European Lawyers in Lesvos

Office highlights

Pro bono matters from each of our offices

Pro bono office highlights
Gabriel Mello © Getty Images

Learn more

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


Visuals by Roman De Giuli

A holistic approach juvenile defense

A holistic approach

Improving access to justice for children


4 min read

Every year millions of children enter criminal justice systems around the world. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child emphasizes the need to consider rehabilitation over incarceration and other punitive methods. However, many children are detained, prosecuted and sentenced to prison—even for petty offenses—resulting in lasting negative impacts such as an increased risk of adult incarceration and mental health disorders, as well as a decreased likelihood of graduating from school and succeeding in the labor market.

Holistic representation is a people-centered approach to legal services that ensures the child’s entire life picture and legal and non-legal needs are taken into account

Leah Conklin
Advocacy and Communications Director of International Legal Foundation

Juvenile holistic representation, which takes a multidisciplinary, whole-life approach to children's legal issues that also includes life circumstances such as poverty, may mitigate these effects. Yet updating or creating legislation to reflect both global best practice and local norms of juvenile holistic representation can be stymied by a lack of available basic information. To address this challenge, White & Case is partnering with the International Legal Foundation (ILF) on a milestone piece of research, Measuring Justice: Principles/Standards for Quality Juvenile Defense. This ongoing work aims to build on the ILF's flagship publication Measuring Justice to analyze juvenile justice systems around the world and provide global guidance to define and measure how juvenile holistic representation can result in better cases and life outcomes for children in conflict with the law. 

"Holistic representation is a people-centered approach to legal services that ensures the child's entire life picture and legal and non-legal needs are taken into account," says ILF Advocacy and Communications Director Leah Conklin. "For example, if a child was arrested for getting into a fight at school, what were the circumstances that led the child to this moment?" Factors to consider include possible abuse or neglect in the child's home, mental health issues or the potential that the school is engaging in discriminatory treatment of students based on race or other factors. It is also important to weigh the impact of the arrest on the child's life and to determine whether the matter may be appropriate for diversion from the criminal justice system.

"In such cases, the lawyer's role would not just be to get the child out of custody and avoid a criminal conviction, but to determine if the child has other needs, and ensure that any court involvement doesn't negatively impact their future," says Conklin. "But to strategically advocate that lawyers around the world should take this people-centered approach to legal representation, we need to be able to present foundational information about the fact that various countries' laws and policies would support it." 

Having partnered with the ILF on many previous pro bono matters, Conklin has found the Firm's international presence to be a significant advantage. "To date, we've researched 21 countries across five continents," she says. "The fact that team members speak multiple languages and understand different cultures is a real asset."

For Abraham Paul, partner in our São Paulo office, the project resonates strongly with his interests. "I've been working with street children in Brazil since I was in high school. This research has the power to change things for the most vulnerable children at a really fundamental level. It will absolutely help shape the legal systems in the countries included in the study. There's a huge amount of personal satisfaction in using our professional skills to make such a meaningful contribution."

Other women and children’s rights highlights

Legal research to end child marriage in the United States
Since 2016, 120+ lawyers and legal staff from ten offices have provided in-depth, state-by-state legal research to Unchained At Last, a nonprofit that works to end forced and child marriage in the US. Unchained has used our research to support its advocacy in its national movement to eliminate child marriage. In 2022 Unchained successfully ended child marriage in Massachusetts, making it the seventh state and counting.

A commitment to supporting global maternal health
For nearly 10 years, 30+ lawyers and legal staff from six offices have provided corporate, employment and general compliance pro bono advice to Operation Fistula, a global nonprofit working to end obstetric fistula in women, a childbirth injury caused by prolonged, obstructed labor.

Working to stop online sexual exploitation of children
We assisted End Child Prostitution and Trafficking (ECPAT) International and ECPAT France as they seek to raise awareness among judges and prosecutors about the crime of live streaming child sexual abuse. Twenty lawyers and legal staff in seven of our offices researched how this crime is prosecuted in six countries.

Photo by Gustavo Oliveira © WBR Photo
The Street Child United Brazil playground in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Service areas