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

Pro bono

Pro bono secondments

Deepening client relationships and boosting associates' skills 


2 min read

Client secondments offer excellent learning opportunities. Our associates build skills and relationships and gain a better understanding of client needs, perspectives and priorities. This is as true for pro bono secondments as it is for commercial ones.

This is a win-win for the client, for us and for our associates. We can support a pro bono client while offering our lawyers an unusual and interesting learning opportunity

Ank Santens
Partner, New York

Our pro bono secondment program is open to high-performing associates across all practice groups. Associates embrace the opportunity to devote 100 percent of their time to pro bono work while on secondments that last between two weeks and six months.

In 2022 we added a new secondment program with longstanding pro bono client Public International Law & Policy Group (PILPG), which focuses on public international law, drafting post-conflict constitutions and assisting with peace negotiations and prosecutions of war crimes. Our new program has three-month in-person and virtual options, allowing associates from our International Arbitration practice based anywhere in the world to participate. New York partner Ank Santens, who oversees the secondment, says, "This is a win-win for the client, for us and for our associates. We can support a pro bono client while offering our lawyers an unusual and interesting learning opportunity."

We place pro bono secondees at a range of other organizations including the Legal Aid Society, where our associates spend six months on criminal defense work, and the Office of the Federal Public Defender for the Eastern District of Virginia, where secondments last for four months. Shorter-term secondments have included working with European Lawyers in Lesvos on asylum issues and, in 2022, sending UK-based associates to Warsaw to help Ukrainian refugees with legal issues including asylum.


Associates Sophia Cheng and Oliver Dean discuss their pro bono secondments with European Lawyers in Lesvos, an organization that provides legal assistance to refugees in Greece, as part of the Greece Pro Bono Collaborative.


For more than 20 years, we have placed associates in three- to four-month secondments with Her Justice, a New York City nonprofit that helps women with family law and immigration issues. Working with Her Justice and many of our other pro bono clients offers associates direct client contact and the chance to see the impact of their work firsthand.

New York partner Greg Starner, who took a pro bono secondment with Her Justice as an associate, says, "This work has a direct impact on our clients' personal lives, which is very different than the impact on a commercial client. Being able to empower individual clients by giving them access to a dedicated advocate is extremely rewarding and gives a real sense of purpose for the associates taking part."

Photo by © European Lawyers in Lesvos
Lawyers and interpreters with European Lawyers in Lesvos provide advice to refugees.


Service areas