Baker McKenzie will receive the Law Firm Leadership Award at this year’s Lambda Legal National Liberty Awards in New York City on May 9, 2019.
The award recognizes the Firm’s youth law work and our shared commitment with Lambda Legal to recognizing and addressing the legal needs of children and youth experiencing homelessness and in child welfare and juvenile justice systems.
Baker McKenzie has demonstrated its mission to help homeless youth with the creation of the “Homeless Youth Handbook,” a series of state-by-state legal guides in the US describing the rights and resources available to homeless young people, as well as launching the annual Children's Right Summit, which brings together child advocates, business and government leaders, and in-house counsel to innovate solutions to protect the rights of young people. Because of the strong link between homelessness and Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people, the Handbooks are a critical tool for this population. Most often, youth become homeless because of abuse, neglect or other trauma at home, and physical and sexual abuse can lead youth to run away. In addition, conflicts with families over LGBTQ identities are another reason youth experience homelessness. Over one-third of unaccompanied homeless youth identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender or Questioning.
“We are grateful for Baker McKenzie’s commitment to children who many, even in our own community, often overlook. For years, Baker McKenzie has been with Lambda Legal’s Youth in Out-of-Home Care Project on the frontlines of the child welfare system working on behalf of LGBT young people, primarily youth of color, who are homeless, in foster care, or in the juvenile justice system who have experienced discrimination, neglect, and violence because of who they are or who they love,” said M. Currey Cook, Lambda Legal Counsel and Youth in Out-of-Home Care Project Director. “Baker McKenzie is so deserving of this award. Through our partnership with the firm, the Youth in Out-of-Home Care Project has made systems of care safer and more affirming for some of our community’s most vulnerable.”
Legal helps homeless youth through its Youth in Out-of Home Care Project, which works to affirm and uphold the rights of LGBTQ youth and youth living with HIV in out-of-home care. Through representation of youth in impact-style cases, proactive law and policy development, fighting against discriminatory laws and policies, and training system professionals, the YOHCP works to ensure youth are safe and treated equitably in child welfare, juvenile justice, and systems of care for youth experiencing homelessness.
"We are thrilled to be recognized by Lambda Legal, a wonderful organization that is doing so much to help achieve full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and transgender people. We are proud to partner with them to help homeless LGBTQ youth and other vulnerable populations," said Colin Murray, North American Chief Executive Officer at Baker McKenzie. “The Homeless Youth Handbook series has proven to be a vital legal resource for young people throughout the United States. We hope to continue to expand this important pro bono initiative.”
Baker McKenzie’s Commitment to Pro Bono
Through our pro bono work, Baker McKenzie engages teams of problem-solvers on the most compelling social justice challenges around the globe, where we can make a difference. Our pro bono work focuses on making an impact on children’s rights, LGBTQ advocacy, gender justice, justice crossing borders, and rule of law.
To watch a video on the Homeless Youth Handbook series and its impact, click here. To find out more about upcoming events relating to homeless youth and LGBTQ advocacy, click here.
About Lambda Legal
Founded in 1973, Lambda Legal is the oldest and largest national legal organization whose mission is to achieve full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and everyone living with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work. Lambda Legal selects cases that will have the greatest impact in protecting and advancing the rights of LGBT people and those with HIV and leads high-impact public education campaigns to help people exercise the rights they have and to build public support for equality. Lambda also advocates for public policy at the local, state and federal levels to improve the lives of LGBT people, people affected by HIV, and their families and allies. To find out more, go to https://www.lambdalegal.org.