NEW YORK – The American Lawyer has given its top Pro Bono Award for 2018 to Reed Smith. The firm was honored with the Global Legal Award for Pro Bono for its Refugee Protection Project at The American Lawyer Industry Awards dinner held last night in New York City. Pro Bono counsel and Human Rights Team leader Jayne E. Fleming, who created and leads the project, accepted the award on behalf of the firm.
Light reflecting off of beams

“Our cutting-edge, holistic legal program in support of refugees worldwide has been moving from strength to strength for nearly nine years now,” said Reed Smith Global Managing Partner, Sandy Thomas. “We are extremely grateful to Jayne, as well as Rebecca Naylor, our London project coordinator, Chicago partner Duane Sigelko, senior Pro Bono Counsel Chris Walters in Philadelphia, and the efforts of hundreds of lawyers and legal professionals in our U.S., Europe, and Middle East offices who have devoted time and resources to helping so many refugees and creating such a successful model program.”

Reed Smith began its Refugee Protection Project, with dozens of missions on-the-ground, in Central America and Haiti to support women and children refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) fleeing violence and torture. Three and a half years ago, the firm moved the innovative refugee protection model it had developed to the Middle East, with a focus on refugees and IDPS fleeing violence and torture in Syria and Iraq.

Over the last three years, in the face of numerous legal obstacles, Reed Smith successfully relocated clients from Jordan and Greece to Australia, France, Germany, Greece, England Canada and the United States. The firm’s holistic program further supports hundreds of at-risk Middle East refugees in cases involving kidnapping, sexual torture, rape, domestic violence, forced marriage, and labor exploitation.

The firm has led dozens of missions to Jordan, Lebanon, Iraqi Kurdistan, and Greece, where its pro bono teams have interviewed several hundred refugees and torture victims, and identified dozens of the most at-risk survivors, for whom they are developing comprehensive legal protection strategies.