Baker McKenzie has received the Pro Bono Research Project of the Year Award from the American Lawyer as part of the 2016 Global Legal Awards, recognizing the Firm's pro bono efforts in organizing United Nations Consultations with children living in poverty around the world.
The Global Legal Awards honor "the most distinguished international legal work" of the last year and attracted more than 200 entries this year. Recognizing how street youth can be invisible in policy agendas, Baker McKenzie partnered with the Consortium for Street Children (CSC), as well as in-house counsel at Merck, Regeneron, Cargill and Salesforce, to bring together hundreds of street children to share their stories during UN Consultations in Brazil, India, Belgium and Mexico over the last year.
"Baker McKenzie’s expertise was critical in overcoming bureaucratic obstacles, providing local legal context — and just as important, listening to the children whom the world so frequently ignores," American Lawyer said in describing the Firm's work on the Consultations.
In addition to the Consultations, more than 60 Baker McKenzie volunteers and some 20 volunteers from the Firm's in-house partners produced reports analyzing street children's right to association, to shelter, safety and protection and to representation — research that will be submitted to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child ahead of its General Comment on the needs of street-connected children next year.
"We are honored to receive this recognition from the American Lawyer," said Angela Vigil, the Firm’s Pro Bono Partner and Executive Director of the Pro Bono Practice. "It speaks to our Firm's commitment to finding collaborative ways to help strengthen and preserve protections for those who need it most."
Added Michael Wagner, Chair of Baker McKenzie's global pro bono committee, "Protecting children's rights is an integral part of Baker McKenzie's pro bono work around the world. Through our partnership with the talented in-house teams at Merck, Regeneron, Cargill and Salesforce, we made significant progress to address this critical issue, and we are very grateful to the American Lawyer for this recognition."
Baker McKenzie's Pro Bono Practice is dedicated to delivering first-class legal services to the underserved and disadvantaged by fostering an environment that encourages and supports attorneys to provide pro bono legal services. The practice promotes and sponsors activities that provide opportunities for all Firm personnel — independently and in partnership with our clients — to contribute to the well-being of the communities in which our Firm practices and lives.
Learn more about Baker McKenzie's Pro Bono work.