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
When the Taliban regained power in Afghanistan in August 2021, life became dangerous for many people, particularly women working to uphold gender rights and members of the previous government's military. Lawyers in many White & Case offices have been involved in the evacuation and resettlement efforts for representatives of both groups, along with some family members.
Lawyers in our Riyadh, London, Milan, Abu Dhabi, Doha, Chicago and Washington, DC, offices are supporting women and their families who have—or hope to—escape Afghanistan. In one case the Taliban targeted our client for her work in a women's shelter. With our assistance she fled to Pakistan and is now resettling in Germany. We are also helping her sisters leave Afghanistan after one of them received violent threats. Because the matters have similar elements, our teams conduct regular calls to share information about the situation on the ground and identify the best legal options for escaping Afghanistan.
"For our client, having someone on her side, fighting for her, meant everything. Even when we thought things were moving slowly, she was so appreciative of our support. This makes this difficult work, in which much is out of our control, so rewarding," says Elaf Al-Wohaibi, associate in our Riyadh office. "Human rights drew me to the legal profession in the first place. White & Case's reputation for pro bono work and the ability to work on matters like this are among the reasons I chose to join the Firm."
Lawyers in our Houston and New York offices assisted two trainee pilots in the Afghan Air Force with resettlement in the US. The pilots were training with the US in the United Arab Emirates when the US military withdrew from Afghanistan, and they were evacuated to the US to avoid retaliation by the Taliban. Each chose to make independent departures from the US military bases where they were housed, rather than wait for US resettlement services. This action made them vulnerable to losing critical benefits and required navigating through a legally complex process. We assisted the pilots with their departures, specifically ensuring they received resettlement benefits and local support and—most recently—helped them apply for asylum.
We are also participating in a collaborative project with other law firms and legal service providers to assist Afghan refugees to reunite with their family in Germany. Through the German Collaborative Project for Afghans, which involves eight law firms and the International Rescue Committee, lawyers in our Berlin and Hamburg offices have taken on their first case, helping an Afghan resident of Germany reunite with his family who are still in Afghanistan.
Photo by American Photo Archive © Alamy Stock Photo
Assisted by a US Air Force aircrew, Afghan refugees board an evacuation flight in August 2021.