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Law Firms and NGOs in London Launch Partnership to Eliminate Poverty

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

  • By: Lucy Pogson
  • Organization: 4AID

Today sees the launch of a new not-for-profit organisation, Advocates for International Development (A4ID), through which City lawyers have combined forces to help make poverty history. They have already committed over 7000 hours to this initiative, working on more than 20 international projects. This would equate to over £2m worth of work according to current city rates.

This is the first time that lawyers from across 15 of the top city law firms, including Clifford Chance, Linklaters, Weil Gotshal Manges, and Richards Butler have teamed up with senior barristers and academics to work together, pro bono, on international development issues in collaboration with NGOs. A4ID will offer legal expertise on issues such as trade, debt, corruption and the right to education for the benefit of those in communities worldwide.

A4ID embodies the values of the 1000 City Lawyers - a network of individual lawyers across the city who signed up to help Make Poverty History following the Tsunami. In addition to representing these individual members, A4ID draws on the support of law firms and chambers, through which partners, solicitors and barristers can commit their time to development issues.

Up to 500 people are expected to attend the launch, including senior members of the judiciary and bar, who will gather this evening in the Grand Hall at Middle Temple for the address by the Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, who has recently called for firms to commit a minimum of ten per cent of their pro bono time to international development.

Robin Knowles CBE QC , Chairman of the Bar Pro Bono Unit, Trustee of LawWorks, and Member of A4ID's Advisory Council, commented: "A4ID seeks to harness the strengths of both the Law Firms and the Bar. The result is a world class combination of skills, and a shared effort across the profession to assist the developing world. Here as elsewhere "pro bono work is part of being a lawyer"."

A4ID is already partnering with leading charities and NGOs in the development sphere, including Oxfam, Action Aid, Tearfund, and Debt Relief International.

"We are continuing to build partnerships with many charities and development organisations," comments Roger Leese, partner at Clifford Chance and one of the founding directors of A4ID. "The legal advice provided through A4ID comes at no cost to the charities and the standard of legal expertise we have to offer is of the highest quality. We're delighted to have some of the best law firms, barristers and academics in the country on board already."

To speak to an A4ID director, or one of the charities or law firms partnering A4ID, please contact Lucy Pogson on 07782 208943 or 0207 619 7201, or email lucypogson@hotmail.com.

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