It’s important that we as a firm, and as individuals, give back to the communities in which we work and advise those who can’t access legal advice. It’s not only good for the world – it’s a great way for us to develop our skills and make our own practice the best it can be.
We firmly believe that providing pro bono legal advice and representation is the professional responsibility of all our lawyers. Join us, and you’ll also join in this valuable contribution. We’re committed to the recommendations and guidelines of the American Bar Association, the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, the District of Columbia Resolutions on Pro Bono Services, as well as the Pro Bono Institute and its Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge ®.
Our New York office leads the way in harnessing the skills and strengths of our attorneys and colleagues to bring about positive change for those who are mistreated and in need. Our office is understandably proud – not only of its tradition of public service, but also of its position as a leader in the firm’s diverse pro bono practice around the world. For you, this makes Linklaters New York the ideal place to grow and make a positive impact on society.
Join our lawyers who are working on a variety of pro bono matters with many leading organizations, including:
- City Bar Justice Center
- Immigration Equality
- Lawyers Alliance for New York
- New York Lawyers for the Public Interest
- New York Office of the Appellate Defender
- Sanctuary for Families
- Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund
- Vance Center for International Justice
We’re honored to represent victims of persecution from countries around the world in their requests for asylum. We assist women who are victims of domestic violence with their residency applications, and we advise immigration detainees. We also provide support to nonprofit organizations seeking to improve economic development and quality of life in New York City’s disadvantaged neighborhoods.
Every year we draw on our global networks to provide more than 30,000 hours of pro bono legal support to around 200 not-for-profit organisations, and many more vulnerable individuals. For example, we recently contributed to a successful appeal at the US Supreme Court for Bobby Moore, a death row inmate with intellectual disabilities. This case has major implications for death penalty cases across the United States. And our work on social finance for not-for-profit organisations is setting the bar for the sector.
“The support we've received from Linklaters has been outstanding. No question has been too much hassle.” Geoff Burnard, CEO, Investing for Good
“Linklaters has done a great job on the Bobby Moore case and many others. Not all cases end up in the Supreme Court, but they really do make a difference.” Margot Ravenscroft, Director, Amicus
Our community support programs are focused on two global themes:
- Growing the capabilities of nonprofits
- Growing the aspirations and skills of young people
Our work also focuses on matters that promote access to justice. Our reach extends across borders, allowing us to represent social entrepreneurs and advise on rule of law initiatives.
Recent representative projects include:
B the Change
Social entrepreneurship and impact investing are fast becoming very important movements as engines for social change. But how does commercial world make its mark? Global legal frameworks underpinning business entities and director duties were not originally designed to promote the operations of a for-profit company, even if social benefits were integral to its purpose.
Enter B Lab. This U.S. not-for-profit represents and promotes the global movement of entrepreneurs using the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. B Lab certifies companies as being a “B Corp” in the United States, or an “Empresa B” in Latin America, if the company can demonstrate it has a positive impact on its stakeholders.
B Lab needed us to help create the multi-jurisdictional legal framework that would help business achieve positive social change. We pursued an innovative multi-prong approach. First, we evaluated existing corporate laws. Then, we recommended what kind of language should be included in constitutional documentation of entities under existing laws, to best achieve B Lab’s goals within the existing legal framework. Finally, we recommended changes to applicable laws to improve the legal framework. The innovation we brought to this project included the novelty and breadth of our legal advice, the global reach of our analysis to support B Lab’s global expansion, and the impact of our work in communities globally. In fact, our work with B Lab was shortlisted for the Financial Times Innovative Lawyers Awards for North America 2014: Innovation in a Social Responsibility Project.
Fostering the rule of Law in Liberia
The Liberian legal system is rooted in common law. It is precedent-driven, requiring judges to consider previous judicial decisions on the same or similar topics when giving a ruling in a case. But the lack of a comprehensive index to case law, compounded by lack of access to previous court decisions in remote areas, posed a significant challenge to the system.
Over a period of five years, our cross-disciplinary team of over 200 lawyers and trainees across eight Linklaters offices completed the ambitious task of producing an indexed digest of the jurisprudence of Liberia, from the 1860s onwards. It was a multi-party effort, with Lawyers Without Borders (LWOB), Thomson Reuters, the World Bank and a number of others. As a result, judges and lawyers are now able to access, consider and build upon Liberian case precedent. To address a particular issue in this region, we also worked with LWOB to create a series of comic books designed to educate lawyers and the public in Liberia on their rights around human trafficking.
This all marked the beginning of a new era in Liberian law. The project is a testament to what’s possible with the right commitment by the right parties. What’s more, it serves as a replicable model of sustainability and best practice. We’re proud the project won Global Pro Bono Project of the Year, Africa, in 2014 by The American Lawyer.
Being a global organization means much more than having offices around the world.
We’re striving to be the leading global law firm. This means our team must reflect the cultures and values of the communities and arenas in which we work. It means we must make diversity and inclusion integral to what we do, from the way we recruit our people, to the training and support we offer them, and our growing investment in local communities and projects.
We value difference, and we want to attract talented people from a wide range of diverse cultures, backgrounds and experiences. We’re committed to creating an inclusive working environment where everyone can reach their potential and excel. Our local diversity committees are a platform for our people to share their views, foster their ideas and implement change.
Our ambition to be a diverse organization is closely aligned to our initiatives across recruitment, knowledge and learning, business and client development, and community investment, which include:
- Annual participation in several U.S. job fairs and programs geared toward fostering diversity in the legal profession, including Sponsors for Educational Opportunity and the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity.
- Flexible working, allowing approximately 15% of our employees worldwide to work more flexibly.
- Special events for women attorneys and clients across the firm.
- The launch of the Women’s Leadership Program in 2012 – a 9-month program of events, structured learning and coaching to develop and retain highly-talented women across our global network.
- Sponsorship of affinity networks across the firm.
Our pro bono work supports the diversity of our communities. Our work includes:
- Representing LGBT and HIV-positive immigrants in their applications for asylum through Immigration Equality.
- Partnering with the Minkwon Center for Community Action to deliver a citizenship clinic on matters relating to wage discrimination and housing.
- Contributing to Sanctuary for Families’ Immigration Intervention Project, to provide immigrant domestic violence victims with legal services that allow them to obtain permanent resident status or citizenship.
- Partnering with the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund to help secure legal name changes and advocate for transgender clients in matters workplace discrimination.
We support the career aspirations of diverse populations in our communities and markets through a number of activities, including:
- Sponsorship and participation in several New York City-based youth programs, designed to encourage young women and ethnic minority students to excel in school and enter the legal profession. These programs include the Inner City Scholarship Fund and Legal Outreach.
- Sponsorship and participation in the UK-based Amos Bursary, which provides internships and mentoring support in London and New York for young men of African and Caribbean descent.
- Co-sponsorship, in cooperation with Goldman Sachs, of the August 2014 launch of LIFT (Language, Inspiration, Focus and Training). This is a scholarship and mentoring program that supports students from severely underprivileged communities who attend Zumbi dos Palmares University in Sao Paulo.
- Active membership in the 30% Club, an organization of Chairs and CEOs aimed at increasing women’s representation on FTSE-100 boards to 30%. This is currently around 23%, and we’re also working towards improving gender balance at all levels of organizations in the UK, U.S., and other regions.