Pro Bono and Community Investment - Volunteering our skills
Our purpose is to deliver legal certainty in a changing world, by giving our pro bono clients clarity in the way they deliver their services and by creating confidence in our communities. We use a combination of skills, experience and money to make not-for-profit organisations more resilient and effective. As an organisation that is diverse and inclusive, our community programme enables our people to share their own stories with those around us, often bringing them to our premises to inform and inspire.
In pro bono, we use our particular legal skills and expertise to uphold the rule of law, promote human rights, provide local access to justice and fight corruption. Our pro bono practice is global and we draw on our cross-practice and cross-border networks to provide over 30,000 hours of legal support to over 200 not for profits and vulnerable individuals every year.
Promoting a fairer and more prosperous world also means supporting access to education and opportunity, which is why our global offices support young people from low income backgrounds to realise their aspirations.
Collaboration and focus are key to this, which is why we are committed to working towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals until 2030. We continue to partner with other businesses, governments, not for profit organisations and civil society to do so.
In community investment, we work with young people around the world to raise aspirations and so promote diversity in the workforce. Whether through schools, social enterprise or direct engagement with community groups, our programme is all about face-to-face volunteering, by which we both sides grow. We also use our skills and expertise to strengthen the groups which serve these communities and increasingly partner with them to deliver shared activities.
In the U.S. it is unconstitutional to execute prisoners who have an intellectual disability, but the tests for establishing whether someone has an intellectual disability vary between states.
Over 60 of our lawyers from 14 global offices helped secure a U.S. Supreme Court victory in April 2017 for Bobby Moore, a 57-year-old man with intellectual disabilities, who has been held on death row in Texas for more than 35 years. Based on research across 25 jurisdictions and four international courts, we submitted an amicus curiae brief in relation to Mr Moore’s appeal on behalf of a number of leading international medical institutes and organisations, including the British Medical Association, the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the World Psychiatric Association. The Supreme Court found that the test applied by the Texas Criminal Appeals Court for determining which defendants are intellectually disabled in capital cases violated the U.S. constitution.
Over the course of the past seven years, we have worked alongside the Thomson Reuters Foundation and global not for profit Lawyers Without Borders to foster access to justice and economic development in Liberia.
Two hundred Linklaters lawyers have so far contributed more than 5,800 pro bono hours to compile summaries covering over 3,700 of Liberia’s cases.
As a result, judges and lawyers are now able to access, consider and build upon Liberian case precedent, reinstituting the foundation that was abruptly abandoned during the political upheaval and civil wars under Charles Taylor.
In London, we have worked with schools in Hackney for many years, recently extending this activity to Tottenham. In both areas, we mentor students, host workplace visits and provide high quality work experience to offer and insight into City careers. Our Graduate Recruitment team is fully engaged in this activity as are six functions hosting directly-employed apprentices, ensuring that we demonstrate social mobility in practice. Please see one student’s story in the following film.
Aspiring Professionals Young Women's Series
Since 2017 Linklaters have been working with The Social Mobility Foundation to help inspire and develop young women through the Aspiring Professionals Young Women’s Series. The Social Mobility Foundation aims to provide opportunities and networks of support for those who are unable to get them from their schools or families.
One participant said of the programme: “Throughout the duration of the sessions one message that was very clear was: know yourself, back yourself. I think that I’m now knowing myself and I look forward to what’s to come.”
World's Largest Lesson
Our Dubai office is working in partnership with two key clients – DP World and PwC – to establish and carry out a new community investment programme.
Volunteers from each entity have developed and delivered training sessions in schools in Dubai on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (the “SDGs”). This is part of a global initiative to deliver the World’s Largest Lesson, which is designed to get children thinking about the biggest challenges faced by the world today, to introduce children to the SDGs, and to start generating ideas about what can be done to achieve the SDGs and create a better world.
Of the students who took part in the programme so far, 94% learnt more about the SDGs, and 92% said they now care more about social and environmental issues, demonstrating the important role the teaching played in ensuring future generations feel empowered take action to address the SDGs.
This forms part of Linklaters’ work with IMPACT2030, a business sector led initiative focused on engaging employees to achieve the SDGs. We are now looking at ways to engage other key clients in the United Arab Emirates in delivering the World’s Largest Lesson, so that the initiative has even greater impact.