Dechert has stolen a march on its City competitors to become the first firm in London to appoint a partner dedicated full-time to pro bono work.
Suzanne Turner, a US-qualified lawyer based in London, will be the first full-time head of Dechert's pro bono practice, covering both Europe and the US. Her practice will focus on human and civil rights litigation.
Suzanne has been acting as pro bono consultant and co-chair of Dechert's pro bono programme since September 2001. She is a former partner at Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll, where she created an award-winning pro bono programme for the firm.
Turner told The Lawyer: "Essentially, pro bono is a practice area involving millions of pounds worth of work and we need to manage it at the highest level. We're really treating it as any other practice area in the firm."
Turner said she hoped her appointment would encourage other firms in London to take the same step. "The need to fill the gap left by legal aid budget cuts is great. I'm here to spearhead more pro bono work in Dechert offices throughout Europe."
Dechert recorded more than 32,000 hours of pro bono work in 2002. New initiatives include an anti-human trafficking project.
Corporate partner Paul Harding has become the latest legacy Titmuss Sainer & Webb partner to quit Dechert in London. Harding has joined Clyde & Co.