Ending violence against women

Female genital mutilation
Female genital mutilation (FGM) affects over 200 million women and girls worldwide. 

Our team of over 40 lawyers across our offices work with charities to support survivors and to end FGM. 

We partnered with four other law firms and charity 28 Too Many to provide legal research and guidance on the framework and status of FGM in a number of jurisdictions as part of the move toward its global elimination. These reports were published internationally in 2018 and our lawyers are now working on producing a model law. We were honored for this work with the TrustLaw Collaborative Award 2018 and in 2019 won the Best Collaborative Initiative at The Lawyer Awards. 

“The contribution and commitment of Reed Smith to our ground-breaking research on the law and FGM has been exceptional. We are so proud that the high-quality reports we have produced through this partnership are now being used internationally to inform the vital work to end FGM and we look forward to continuing our collaboration with Reed Smith and the pro bono team.”
Amy Hurn, Research Manager, 28 Too Many

Women seeking asylum
We are constantly representing women who have fled persecution and are seeking asylum, in U.S. immigration proceedings. While most of our pro bono asylum clients are from Central American countries, we have represented asylum-seekers from countries as diverse as Albania, Togo, Morocco, Congo, and Yemen. We have a high success rate with these female clients, having won 26 cases in a row.

Evacuating sexual violence victims from Haiti
In the wake of the 2010 Haiti earthquake, an epidemic of sexual violence arose against women and girls left unprotected in the tent camps of Port au Prince.

Reed Smith was the sole law firm to build a presence in Port au Prince to address this humanitarian disaster. We sent multiple teams of doctors and lawyers to network with grassroots women’s groups and to conduct an investigation. After identifying the most compelling cases, our team used the legal immigration tool of “humanitarian parole” to bring victims to safety in the United States. 

In the first two years, our team achieved protection for 52 victims: 15 now live in the U.S. and 37 in Canada. We later evacuated an additional dozen Haitians.

We have dedicated 10,000 pro bono hours to Haitian clients, with a particular focus on representing women and girls who have suffered sexual violence.