Reed Smith placed fifth in the ranking by Law.com International, with lawyers from the firm recording a total of 21,759 hours of pro bono legal counsel in the last financial year and with 81 per cent of the firm’s London-based lawyers taking part in pro bono projects.
Law.com International praised the depth of Reed Smith’s commitment towards pro bono work, noting the very high percentage of lawyers taking part, overseen by two dedicated pro bono professionals. The publication also noted that Reed Smith’s decision to include pro bono hours in utilization reports was another key indicator of commitment by the firm’s management, putting pro bono hours and billable work on the same level.
London-based lawyers at the firm have taken on significant cases on behalf of Kids in Need of Defense UK, which works to regularize the immigration status of undocumented children. Each case sees teams of eight lawyers record an average of 300 hours of pro bono work over six months. In 2020, Reed Smith helped 15 clients to achieve fee waivers, leave to remain or British citizenship. Thirty-five lawyers from the firm also participated in emergency injunction work for the National Centre for Domestic Violence, taking on 39 referrals to date, amounting to over 1,000 hours of pro bono time.
Law.com International selected the top 10 firms based on six metrics. These included the total number of pro bono hours worked in the UK in the last financial year; the number of pro bono hours per fee earner; the percentage of lawyers doing pro bono; the number of full- or part-time pro bono professionals; whether pro bono work counts towards lawyers’ utilization targets; and how the firm’s efforts were rated by their peers.