Pro bono

Review of the year

“Think global, act global” was the pro bono catchphrase of the year. In June, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office launched its own death row legal panel with lobbying group Prisoners Abroad to provide legal pro bono support to UK prisoners overseas.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer continued to lobby the UK and US governments for the release of UK prisoner Krishna Maharaj from death row. Maharaj has been there for 14 years, convicted on what many believe is shaky evidence. In November, Freshfields helped 300 UK politicians write to Florida governor Jeb Bush to review the conviction.

“It seems that for years I’ve been single-handedly financing the legal profession”
Neil Hamilton, 10 September

Lovells continued to campaign for the release of UK prisoner Tracy Housel, who is facing execution by electrocution in Georgia.

Following 11 September, US firms in London and Collins Solicitors in Watford pledged pro bono support to victims’ families based in the UK. 11 September caused a sea change in the mentality of New York attorneys. The New York State Trial Lawyers Association pledged to work pro bono on every personal injury or bereavement claim put before the US government.

And, for the most comprehensive local, national and international pro bono efforts, this year’s The Lawyer Pro Bono Award went to Allen & Overy.

Naomi Rovnick