Lovells extends pro bono to corporate lawyers

Lovells has formed a social enterprise unit that offers pro bono advice across its international offices to the not-for-profit and fair trade sectors.


Yasmin Waljee
Yasmin Waljee

Lovells has formed a social enterprise unit that offers pro bono advice across its international offices to the not-for-profit and fair trade sectors.

The unit brings together fee-earners with a view to helping socially minded organisations use commercial knowledge to generate income that can be invested back into local communities.International pro bono manager Yasmin Waljee told The Lawyer: ­”Traditionally pro bono’s quite litigation-focused. One element we were looking at is how we can mobilise corporate and finance lawyers. The social enterprise unit does this and we’re aiming to extend to finance and marketing to be more embracing.”

The social enterprise unit is led by London-based partners Nicola Evans, ­(corporate), Tom Whelan (private equity) and Adrian Walker (global head of infrastructure and project finance), together with Munich-based IP partner Matthias Koch and Paris-based dispute resolution partner Antoine Juaristi.

One of the unit’s first ­projects will involve around 15 lawyers providing advice on a project to help Indian ­cotton farmers operating in an area where rural poverty had led to a high incidence of stress and suicide.

The farmers, through the formation of the Zameen Organic cooperative, now grow and sell fair trade organic cotton to the UK.

Corporate partners at Lovells provided advice on the establishment of the PI Foundation to train the rural farmers on the commercial aspects of their work and help those at Zameen upscale their operations, while finance lawyers looked at the structure of loan ­agreements.

In addition, two lawyers worked in India with Zameen to ensure income generated is channelled back into the community.