2021 GC Review

2021 Global Citizenship Review

What's inside

Highlights from our Global Pro Bono Practice and volunteering activities

A message from our Chair

Hugh Verrier

Hugh Verrier
Chair

Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, in 2021 we worked with many of the world’s leading non-governmental organizations to help address a wide range of environmental and social challenges. Our capabilities and global network give us the opportunity and responsibility to do pro bono work that only a firm like ours can undertake.

Research by our lawyers on environmental law in each of the 193 UN Member States will inform the United Nations Environment Programme’s 2022 Environmental Rule of Law Report. We also assisted Conservation International on an innovative way to generate carbon credits through improved forest management across a large area of the Amazon forest.

Two major court victories in 2021 helped advance the rights of children. In a victory at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, our lawyers helped win justice for the families of children killed in a fire at a juvenile detention center and improve conditions for all detainees. Our lawyers also helped win a US$4.2 billion pre-trial settlement with New York State to honor its commitment to phase in full funding for all school districts in the state. 

This review reports on our pro bono work on these and other issues, such as balancing human rights while countering terrorism, protecting the rights of the media, protesters and police during protests, and helping refugees navigate complex legal processes.

Progress and setbacks exist in tandem in worldwide efforts to protect both people and planet. Through our Global Pro Bono Practice, we seek to do our part as lawyers to address the challenges of our time.


Hugh Verrier, Chair

Environmental stewardship

Our pro bono work continued to support important environmental advances


Two walruses seen in profile sitting with their backs against each other on ice floating off the coast of Norway.
Andy Mann © Bespoke Reps

The role of law in protecting the environment

Our research on 193 countries informs the UNEP 2022 Environmental Rule of Law Report

Read 4 min. article
View from the base of the forest floor of foliage, large intertwining tree trunks and a glimpse of sky in the Amazon forest in the Madidi National Park, Bolivia.
Toniflap © Adobestock

Carbon credits at scale

Structuring sustainable forestry projects to reduce emissions and drive investment

Read 3 min. article
A close up of hands planting a tiny seedling in soil and straw as part of the Trillion Tree Campaign in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia.
© Santiago Roa/Jaguar Siembra, Natur & Kultur Verein

Growth for the planet 

We help Plant-for-the-Planet’s governance keep up with its growth

Read 4 min. article

Advancing human rights

Highlights include a major education funding victory and advice on balancing human rights while countering terrorism


Family portraits hung on a wall in a Jamaican home in London in pastel frames with distinctive flower designs like those profiled by photographer Jim Grover in his 2018 exhibit "Windrush: Portrait of a Generation."
© Jim Grover

Immigration navigation

Pursuing justice for immigrants in the UK

Read 2 min. article
A close-up of hands holding a mobile phone with the screen displaying the image of a fingerprint as the person uploads their biometric data in the form of their fingerprint.
Jason Lee © Reuters

Balancing security and human rights 

Informing a response to the EU by the UN Special Rapporteur on the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights while Countering Terrorism 

Read 3 min. article
Muhammed Muheisen © Bespoke Reps

The rights of children

Boosting the foundations of children’s rights

Read 5 min. article
Close-up of the hands and arms of two young elementary school students who are lying together on the floor and reading a book that is on the floor in front of them.
FatCamera © Getty Images

Funding matters

A landmark US$4.2 billion settlement on education funding in New York State

Read 7 min. article
Voting rights activists during a rally at Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington, DC hold up large individual orange letters emblazoned with light bulbs that spell out the words Freedom to Vote.
Jose Luis Magana © Associated Press

Voting rights vs. realities

Breaking down barriers for American voters

Read 4 min. article

Justice system reform

Our lawyers worked on a wide range of issues, including protections during protests and compensation for victims


A journalist holding a TV camera on his right shoulder faces a police officer seen from behind while a protest is going on in the back.  The journalist is reminding the officer that the press are considered "essential workers" in regard to curfews related to protests.
Wong Maye-E © Associated Press

Protected protest

Legal analysis to protect the rights of media, protesters and law enforcement in the US, Africa and Latin America

Read 5 min. article
The white, arched paneled ceiling of the Hall of Heroes at the headquarters of the Organization of American States lined with the flags of the Member States.
Juan Manuel Herrera © OAS/OEA

A 15-year journey for justice

Victory at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights for victims’ families and detained children

Read 4 min. article
Jessup competition
© White & Case

Creating competition

Bringing the Jessup alive online in 2021

Read 6 min. article

About pro bono

We are one of the world’s largest providers of pro bono legal services

Pro bono hours and participation

113,110 pro bono hours in 2021


100k+ pro bono hours for the 5th consecutive year
100% of our offices and practices do pro bono work

170 partners and counsel serve as pro bono leaders
50+ associates and legal staff serve as pro bono champions

 

Colorfully striped hot-air balloons float over snow-covered rock formations called fairy chimneys in the Cappadocia region of Turkey.
Anadolu Agency © Getty Images

Office highlights

Pro bono matters from each of our offices

Read 12 min. article

Learn more

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

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Family portraits hung on a wall in a Jamaican home in London in pastel frames with distinctive flower designs like those profiled by photographer Jim Grover in his 2018 exhibit "Windrush: Portrait of a Generation."

Immigration navigation

Pursuing justice for immigrants in the UK

Story
2 min read

The 2018 Windrush scandal brought to the fore an ongoing immigration injustice in the UK. Immigrants and their families, often of Caribbean descent, were wrongfully detained, denied legal rights, threatened with deportation and unlawfully deported. Many victims lost their jobs, and their homes, and were denied benefits to which they were entitled, including health coverage. 

In 2019, the British government set up the Windrush Compensation Scheme to compensate victims and their families. Because uptake of compensation was slow, a team of eight law firms, including White & Case, began collaborating with the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants in 2021 to help people who are eligible for compensation navigate the process. We now work with the Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit, the new charity lead for the initiative. 

Our lawyers were assigned two individual cases. The work involved building a forensic history of the victims including evidence of any negative impacts on their work, any housing or other benefits withheld, and the psychological trauma they suffered, as well as collecting the official documentation needed to support the claims.

London partners Melissa Butler and James Holden said volunteering to help the claimants was an easy decision. The issue had personal importance to both: Melissa is an immigrant to the UK, and James is the son of an immigrant. 

The work has been emotional, with client sessions sometimes cut short to give the victims time to compose themselves. “It is a wrong that needs to be righted, and if we can play a small part to help with that, that’s a good thing,” said Holden.

We started working on the cases in late June 2021, and it is expected that the first claims will be submitted in early 2022. 

Beyond the clear benefit of having a lawyer from a top-tier law firm working on the claims, “the victims get the same dogged determination we bring to all our clients,” said Butler. “They have someone personally invested in maximizing the compensation and giving them the opportunity to get some justice from what would otherwise be a very difficult, complicated process.”


Photo by Jim Grover www.windrushportraitofageneration.com
Family portraits in a Jamaican home in London in the distinctive frames like those profiled by photographer Jim Grover in his 2018 exhibit “Windrush: Portrait of a Generation.”


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