Leading global law firm Baker McKenzie has been awarded first place at the 2021 Design Value Awards hosted by the Design Management Institute. The award recognizes the Firm's work on its Justice in Action Pro Bono Sprints which was one of 14 global projects shortlisted, and one of two projects to receive a first place award.

The Design Value Awards honor teams that have delivered significant value through Design or Design Management practices. The awards are distinctive in that they recognize the value of Design and Design Management as a strategic asset: as a means to drive innovation, creativity, culture change, agility and revenue.

Baker McKenzie’s Justice in Action format was launched in response to recent global events which have heightened the need to provide access to accurate and understandable information about complex laws to help address a variety of societal and justice issues, including racial justice. However as the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions forced Baker McKenzie team members to work from home, a reimagined process was needed. By applying a collaborative Design Thinking approach, the team was able to leverage existing technology to strategically and effectively pivot their Justice in Action events to a virtual platform. 

This year the Justice in Action events focused on 4 projects:

  • Real Rights: A city-by-city legal guide for youth interacting with police that provides clarity on what the law says the police can and cannot do, and what young people must do to assert their rights for the international child justice organization, Terre des Homes Foundation and the Global Initiative on Justice with Children.
  • Legal Atlas for Street Children: A country-by-country tracking tool that maps key laws important to street-connected children for our partner organization, the Consortium for Street Children
  • Kids in Mental Health Detention: A service that answers basic questions about the rights of children in detention due to mental health needs in conjunction with the American Bar Association Children's Rights Litigation Committee
  • LGBTQ+ Mapping: A map capturing nondiscrimination protections in state law or agency policy for LGBTQ+ youth experiencing homelessness with our partners at Lambda Legal.Fighting Domestic Violence: Analyzing and evaluating domestic violence systems of justice on a country-by-country basis with our pro bono partners, Global Rights for Women and Every Woman Treaty

The Baker McKenzie team, led by Pro Bono Partners Angela Vigil and Jaclyn Pampel, developed a service blueprint to highlight key moments for the participants and the support processes that needed to be in place to deliver a seamless experience for participants. A sprint approach was designed to maximize short, concentrated periods of time for lawyers and other professionals who are often pulled into many conflicting projects. The team incorporated gamification elements like grouping teammates, establishing leader boards, and providing badges for work accomplished to increase engagement and create a fun and social work environment. Over 15  events have now offered an opportunity to test and iterate the concept to enhance the overall experience and maximize outputs.  

The Firm's new agile approach enabled participants to respond to over 1,300 complex legal questions across 52 jurisdictions, synthesizing complex legislation into bite-sized, child-friendly and consumable information which will be widely available to vulnerable populations.  A tremendous benefit has been the opportunity to invite and engage corporate in-house counsel to join these sprints to help accomplish this important work.  Volunteers from over 25 multi-national companies have joined the virtual sprints to donate their time and talent to the good causes made possible by this inventive platform.

Commenting on this accolade, Angela Vigil said "As a global law firm, Baker McKenzie is committed to applying our legal knowledge, talent, resources and expertise to make a positive and lasting impact on critical global, social impact issues. This commitment is consistent with our global strategy to support and serve our communities across the globe and aligns with the expectations of our clients, our partners and staff, and the communities in which we live and work. One of our flagship pro bono initiatives is our Justice in Action events in which we mobilize our broad and diverse CSR community as well as partners outside the Firm, to engage in targeted and meaningful pro bono child rights work. I am thrilled that this project has received such a significant accolade, and am honored to be part of the fantastic team who led on it. Finding a way to engage with our clients and people on pro bono work was no easy task, but we were blown away by the response from those inside and outside our Firm, in wanting to engage in this way.” "

Additional information on the award can be viewed on the Design Management Institute website.

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