Dentons has won two awards, together with five other firms, for its involvement in the Greece Pro Bono Collaborative. The Collaborative received awards for ‘Innovation in Social Responsibility’ at the Financial Times Innovative Lawyers Awards Europe, and for ‘CSR Innovation (Multi-Firm)‘ at the Legal Innovation Awards.
In addition to Dentons, the other members of the Collaborative include Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe; White & Case; Ashurst; Allen & Overy; Charles Russell Speechlys; and the NGO, European Lawyers in Lesvos (ELIL).
There are more than 100,000 asylum seekers in Greece, most of them living in terrible conditions. Based on the island of Lesvos, the Collaborative aims to assist with the migration crisis by increasing migrants’ access to legal services, monitoring issues of process and rule of law, and building legal capacity in Greece. Volunteers travel to Lesvos to help asylum seekers with first instance interviews and family reunification with support from ELIL, which has provided free legal assistance on Lesvos through its team of full-time Greek asylum lawyers and volunteers since July 2016.
Haya Moubaydeen, associate in Dentons’ Amman office who travelled to Lesvos, said, “I was moved to act when I saw families, who have already gone through so much, being forced to live in overcrowded and difficult conditions. It was heart-wrenching to witness their plight but very rewarding to be able to help, even if in a small way.”
Bas Legger, associate in Dentons’ Amsterdam office who also travelled to Lesvos, added, “I am happy to have been the first lawyer to participate on behalf of Dentons in the Greece Pro Bono Collaborative. This project combines the strengths of six international law firms to support European Lawyers in Lesvos. At the time I went to Moria, there were 13,000 people in a camp with room for 3,100. When you walk past the tents in Moria and listen to the stories of the people there, it’s hard not to be thankful for what we have and want to help those in need.”
ELIL is a joint initiative of the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) and the German Bar Association (DAV). Dentons has provided pro bono support to ELIL since its inception and advised ELIL on its legal structure and implementation in nine European jurisdictions, which culminated in ELIL’s incorporation in Germany as a charitable limited liability company.