LONDON – Global law firm Reed Smith has been shortlisted for its work on three pro bono projects that support refugees in Europe. The projects are all finalists in the Innovative Lawyers in Supporting Refugees category at the FT Innovative Lawyers Europe Awards 2023.
Butterfly on a sunflower

The annual awards celebrate the best in innovation from law firms and in-house legal teams, recognising leaders in digital innovation, strategic advice, talent management and driving positive change in the profession.

The three flagship pro bono projects are:

  • The Ukraine Refugee Project, through which the firm’s lawyers support refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine. The project provides legal advice, support, and representation, particularly to those Ukrainian refugees who want to resettle in the UK. The work is done in collaboration with Safe Passage International and other City law firms. Reed Smith partner Nick Harris and associates Ross Mullane and Victoria Lebed lead the firm’s work on this project
  • The Afghan Pro Bono Initiative was set up in 2022 to support Afghan individuals in need of legal advice, support and representation as they try to find safe routes to sanctuary. Reed Smith works in collaboration with Safe Passage International, Refugee Legal Support and 13 other City law firms. Reed Smith partner Bronwen Jones and trainees Yasmin Duffy and Ahmed Wally lead the firm’s work on this project.
  • The Rule 39 Human Rights Project is a Europe-wide project in partnership with the Italian Coalition for Civil Liberties and Rights and eight other international law firms. Lawyers in the project help to prepare Rule 39 interim measures applications to the European Court of Human Rights on behalf of asylum seekers. Reed Smith partner Daja Apetz-Dreier and associates Dimitris Athanasopoulos and Katrin Gerceker lead the firm’s work on this project.

All these projects are coordinated by the firm’s EMEA pro bono team, including counsel Becca Naylor and associate Jessica Tagg.

Winners of the FT Innovative Lawyers Awards will be announced at an award ceremony held in London on 21 September.

Earlier this year, another Reed Smith collaborative pro bono project won the Pro Bono Initiative of the Year category at The Lawyer Awards. The Domestic Abuse Response Alliance was launched in 2022 and is a major nationwide partnership between nine leading law firms to provide pro bono legal advice and representation to survivors of domestic abuse in need of protective injunctions. The project has supported dozens of clients across the UK.

In 2022, Reed Smith lawyers provided around 29,600 hours of pro bono support to charities, not-for-profits and low-income individuals across the EMEA region.