Latest news in pro bono work

Our deep industry knowledge and excellence in client service are also reflected in the work we do with our communities. Here are some examples of the pro bono work we've carried out recently.

Belgium: Pro bono support for social enterprises

Christophe DelmarcelleChristophe Delmarcelle has been assisting Bird & Bird client MicroStart (a group of socially innovative firms aiming to finance and support those excluded from the banking system) to create small independent businesses, using microfinance. Microstart is a joint venture set up by longstanding client Adie and BNP PARIBAS FORTIS in September 2010. 

Christophe has been providing legal analysis of a note which Microstart will submit to the Federal and Regional Ministers in charge of employment and social security matters. The note aims to enhance and promote micro entrepreneurship and remove administrative barriers to their creation. Christophe has put forward some ideas to enhance the creation of micro-enterprises, by phasing out the reduction of unemployment indemnities.

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Germany: Düsseldorf team supports sports foundation Turnverein Ratingen

Partners Martin Nebeling and Jiri Jaeger and Associate Björn Schigulski have recently advised sports club Turnverein Ratingen on employment and corporate matters. The advice related to the sports club's new foundation which will help give children and adolescents from socially disadvantaged backgrounds the chance to participate in popular sports. The opportunity came about thanks to Martin's connections with the sports club's committee through his involvement with the Düsseldorf Chamber of Industry and Commerce.

Martin Nebeling
Jiri Jaeger
Björn Schigulski
Martin Nebeling
Jiri Jaeger Björn Schigulski

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Germany: International exchange programme benefits from pro bono advice

Verena Grentzenberg (Associate) and Ulrike Grübler (SEC) are advising Youth For Understanding (YFU) on data protection and copyright issues. Verena was an exchange student with YFU in 1988/89 and has been an active volunteer with the organisation for many years, providing pro bono advice regarding data protection issues since 2010. 

YFU is one of the world's oldest, largest, and most respected international educational exchange programmes and gives students the opportunity to gain skills and perspectives relevant to our fast-changing global workplace.

Verena Grentzenberg
Ulrike Grübler
Verena Grentzenberg Ulrike Grübler

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Germany: Munich office advises European Foundation for the Care of Newborn Infants (EFCNI)

Under the lead of partners Ulrich Goebel and Joseph Fesenmair, our Munich office has advised high-profile organisation European Foundation for the Care of Newborn Infants (EFCNI). This is a pan-European organisation representing parents and scientific experts who aim to improve the long-term care of preterm and newborn infants with illnesses, while also providing support for their families. Our firm's assistance to the EFCNI has focused on negotiating sponsorship and licence agreements, trademark protection and advice on general commercial law.

Ulrich Goebel
Joseph Fesenmair
Ulrich Goebel Joseph Fesenmair

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UK: South Westminster Legal Advice Centre (SWLAC)

The SWLAC is based in Westminster London and offers free legal advice on a drop-in basis to the Westminster community and beyond.

12 of our lawyers and trainees volunteer on a rotational basis to offer advice on a range of issues including housing, employment, debt, consumer issues, bankruptcy, wills and personal injury.

IP partner Lorna Brazell, oversees our pro bono efforts and says: 

It is really important that we remember there is a world outside commercial law and the CSR activities are a good way to keep in touch with it.  I always enjoy my evenings advising at SWLAC, the people and the problems are so different from the work I normally get involved with."

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UK: LawWorks

Bird & Bird’s London office is a member of LawWorks, a non-profit organisation that coordinates a variety of pro bono programmes for member firms. Through LawWorks, Bird & Bird’s London-based lawyers and trainees regularly advise charities, community organisations and individuals who would not otherwise be able to afford legal services, on a range of legal matters.

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UK: Prince's Youth Trust

Russell DellarPartners Russell Dellar and Struan Penwarden have both been selected as panellists for The Prince’s Trust.

Russell has been volunteering with the Trust since 1993 and is a panel member of the Prince’s Youth Business Trust, a part of the Trust that gives loans and grants to young people who would like to start their own business but don’t have the resources due to misfortune, disability, disadvantaged background or any circumstances where funding or personal finances are not a possibility.  

Russell and the panel volunteers review the business cases, conduct interviews with the candidates, make recommendations and award the grants and in Russell’s case, give free legal advice and act as mentor as well where required.

Struan PenwardenStruan was recently appointed as Surgery Mentor for the Trust’s Enterprise Programme. The Programme offers unemployed 18 to 30-year-olds support to explore and test their ideas, write business plans and subsequently start their own businesses or achieve alternative outcomes in education, training, volunteering or work. If their business ideas are viable and approved, the Programme offers both financial assistance and mentoring support to start their business.
Surgery mentors support young people who are still deciding between self employment and employment. They help to shape the young persons ideas and act as a sounding board and bring experience and knowledge that the individual may not have had access to previously.

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UK: University of the Arts London - Own-It

Through the Own-It programme, our experienced IP lawyers based in London provide free legal advice to creative arts graduates to avoid being taken advantage of as they begin exploiting their intellectual property (IP) for commercial purposes. On top of providing advice, our lawyers also regularly attend the Own-It to present seminars that help students to understand how to protect their IP.

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UK: Competition Law Pro Bono Scheme

Through this scheme individuals and businesses receive free legal advice concerning the possible impact of the European Union Competition Rules and national competition law on business activities in the UK or the European Economic Area.

Competition Partner Richard Eccles and solicitors Nina Cummins and Joseph Ward provide free expert advice through the Competition Law Pro Bono Scheme to individuals and businesses who believe that their rights under competition law have been infringed or who are concerned that they may be infringing.

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Belu Water Limited

BELU LogoWe have been helping Belu on a pro bono basis since 2010 on a variety of corporate and commercial matters.

Belu Water was launched as a social enterprise to demonstrate the potential for businesses to take a leading role in developing a sustainable future. Belu has done this by creating the UK’s most eco-friendly brand of bottled water and thereby setting a new benchmark for the performance of the entire drinks industry. The company uses all profits to finance clean water projects.

Bird & Bird have advised on matters such as their bottling arrangement, the contracts for their Thames Rubbish Dredger - looking to clean rubbish from the Thames, a proposed partnership with WaterAid (ongoing) and contracts with their water source (Wenlock Springs).

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UK: Earth Champions

Earth ChampionsBird & Bird is proud to work with Earth Champions; a not for profit organisation which strives to inspire people, especially youth, and to involve world communities to create a positive climate of hope and increase the proportion of people, communities and businesses consciously working for the benefit of the environment.

Bird & Bird has been working with Earth Champions to establish a new company limited by guarantee and seek charitable status by lodging an application for registration with the Charity Commission. Some of our lawyers have also provided pro bono advice in relation to confidentiality agreements with third parties, protecting the Foundation’s intellectual property, and working with the Foundation in creating employment contracts.

Every four years, in the city hosting the summer Olympic Games, the Foundation runs a Quest to discover the people’s environmental solutions which helps to inspire community action, health and long-term happiness. Quests have been completed in Hong Kong, Switzerland and Australia, and the Foundation will be showcasing the outstanding Earth Champions for one day, the week prior to the start of the 2012 London Olympics.

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