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

justice shawn williams

Journey to justice

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


3 min read

Shawn Williams spent 24 years in prison for a murder he did not commit. After his exoneration and release from prison in 2018, White & Case and co-counsel Shanies Law Office began the battle to win compensation for him from the City of New York. The result—a US$10.5 million settlement, believed to be the highest reached in wrongful conviction cases connected to notorious former New York City Police Department Detective Louis Scarcella—is a small step toward restitution.

"While I can never get back what was taken from me, this money is going to give me a chance at building the life I never had," says Williams.

An injustice

In 1994 Williams, then 20 years of age, was wrongfully convicted of the second-degree murder of his friend Marvin Mason in Brooklyn. Williams was in Reading, Pennsylvania, at the time of the murder, and documentary evidence and witnesses supported his alibi. No DNA evidence, fingerprints, weapon or motive linked Williams to the murder.

Instead, Williams' conviction was based solely on the testimony of a single eyewitness, who recanted in 2014. In a sworn affidavit recanting her testimony, that eyewitness admitted that she did not, in fact, see Williams fleeing from the scene and that Detectives Scarcella, Stephen Chmil and Lewis Bond had coerced her into falsely naming Williams. Since 2013, nearly 20 convictions involving alleged misconduct by Detective Scarcella have been overturned, and the City of New York has paid out tens of millions of dollars to settle civil suits related to his cases.

Still, when faced with the new evidence, the Kings County District Attorney's Office fought to keep Williams in prison. Finally, Williams, with representation by White & Case partner Sam Hershey who was then at another law firm, won his freedom. His conviction was vacated in 2018.

A new start

After Hershey, who had kept in touch with Williams, moved to White & Case, he joined forces with civil rights lawyers David Shanies and Deborah Francois of Shanies Law Office to seek compensation for Williams.

The White & Case team—which consisted of Hershey, partner Kevin Bolan, associate Wyatt Smith and legal assistant Daniela De la Cruz—filed two civil cases, one against the State of New York with the New York Court of Claims and another against the City of New York with the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. The Court of Claims case went to trial, and the judge ruled against Williams—a decision the White & Case team, with Shanies Law Office, is appealing. The City of New York, however, agreed to settle the District Court case for US$10.5 million.

"Winning a result like this is a reminder of how important it is to take on pro bono work and fight for causes that you really believe in, representing people who would otherwise be lost in the justice system," says Hershey.

Photo by Holly Pickett © The New York Times/Redux
Shawn Williams, center, leaving the courthouse with White & Case partner Sam Hershey, left, and Cleary Gottlieb partner Victor L. Hou, right. 

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