Our partnerships and projects
Our social impact partnerships and projects support access to justice, social finance, education and employment around the world.
Examples of our social impact projects
- Global Charity Partnership
- Public legal education, UK
- Making the legal profession more accessible for people with disabilities, the Légal à Egal program, Paris
- Promoting LGBTIQ+ rights across Africa
- Promoting social mobility in the Indian legal sector
- Preventing school exclusions, UK
- Children’s free legal advice service, UK
- Finding paths to resettlement for Afghans
- Support for Ukraine
- Social finance, UK
Global Charity Partnership
The global charity partnership brings the firm together to support one charity with fundraising, free legal advice (pro bono) and in-kind support. We aim to raise in excess of GBP1 million through the partnership.
A portion of the money we raise will be invested in Women for Women International’s work in Iraq, where the charity will train 250 women on social and economic empowerment issues. Women for Women International will also increase women’s participation in their communities by supporting them to become community advocates.
In addition, the partnership will support Women for Women International’s Conflict Respond Fund, a funding pool designed to allow urgent responses to support women in critical conflict situations, such as in Ukraine and Sudan.
As well as financial support, we are giving Women for Women International free legal advice and other professional support to benefit the organisation as a whole.
If your organisation is interested in future global charity partnerships, send us an email to join our mailing list.
Public legal education, UK
Public legal education gives young people a positive encounter with the law and helps them to develop a basic understanding of their rights and responsibilities.
Our long-term partnership with Young Citizens to promote legal education in schools ensures more young people are learning about the law and the legal sector.
In the UK, we have been delivering the Legal Experts in Schools programme, alongside our commercial clients, in classrooms on topics including social media and the law, human rights and police powers.
We have also developed new educational modules on Migration and Ethics, Innovation and the Law.
Making the legal profession more accessible for people with disabilities, the Légal à Egal program, Paris
Alongside some of our commercial clients, we have set up a legal internship programme for talented law students with disabilities. It aims to help remove the obstacles disabled people often face while trying to break into the legal profession.
The students can apply to the programme and, once selected, they will be offered two internships – one in a legal department of the A&O Paris office, and one in a legal department of one of our partner companies, Chanel, Bank of America, L’Oréal, BNP Paribas or TotalEnergies.
This means they can avoid making multiple applications and having to explain each time about their disability and the workplace adjustments they may require.
Promoting LGBTIQ+ rights across Africa
A&O has contributed to a major report by non-profit organisation REDRESS – a long-standing pro bono partner that pursues legal claims on behalf of survivors of torture around the world.
Entitled “Unequal Justice: Accountability For Torture Against LGBTIQ+ Persons In Africa”, the report draws on research conducted by A&O lawyers across Belgium, France, the UK, U.S., South Africa and Hong Kong.
It sheds light on the violence and torture suffered by LGBTIQ+ people across 11 African countries and the challenges victims face to secure accountability for these crimes.
Promoting social mobility in the Indian legal sector
Social mobility is a global focus for A&O, for both its pro bono and community work and its diversity, equity and inclusion work.
Our Singapore-based India group has launched two new social mobility initiatives. As part of a collaboration with Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access (IDIA), we are sponsoring internships for students from underprivileged and diverse communities in India.
We are also sponsoring the legal education of four students from a challenging socio-economic background, with at least a 50:50 gender diversity in the scholarship candidates, at the National Law School of India University, Bengaluru, a premier law school in India.
Preventing school exclusions, UK
In the UK, only 1% of excluded children achieve five exam passes, and more than half of the prison population was excluded from school.
To help address this, we have launched a new programme in London to tackle exclusions by providing resources for parents and school governors, extracurricular activities for vulnerable children.
In partnership with Just for Kids Law, we’ve developed a new legal clinic to help families challenge permanent school exclusion.
We are also funding the London Community Foundation’s initiative to support secondary schools with high rates of exclusion.
In partnership with the charity Governors for Schools, we have created content and resources to support school governors on the impact of exclusions on pupils and wider society.
Children’s free legal advice service, UK
We work with Coram Children’s Legal Centre to provide free legal advice and representation for children in the UK. Our volunteer lawyers have helped over 100 children to gain British citizenship so that they can apply for a passport, get into higher education and vote.
Adopting a child-rights-based approach, the project works with children who were born in the UK and have lived in the UK their whole lives, who have a right in law to become British citizens but who face obstacles to exercising that right in practice. Many potential clients are some of the poorest children in the UK, who are living in destitution and outside mainstream support systems because of barriers to sorting out their status.
The project is supervised by an experienced immigration lawyer based at Coram Children’s Legal Centre who works with A&O lawyers to assist children in making an application for registration as a British citizen.
Finding paths to resettlement for Afghans
A&O’s team has succeeded in arranging visas and other resettlement options that create a legal pathway out of the country for many families, and we are working with many more.
Expanding out from the U.S. offices, a growing international team of A&O lawyers in the UK, France and Germany has been collaborating with a network of other law firms and NGOs to create paths to safety for Afghans.
An update on A&O’s work to resettle Afghan refugees in Europe.
Support for Ukraine
We are working alongside a number of local bar associations, non-profit partner organisations and other firms to respond to the need for assistance for people fleeing Ukraine.
Our office locations in a number of countries bordering Ukraine make us well placed to provide pro bono, financial and other practical support.
We are also part of a joint collaborative project involving pro bono advice delivery in Warsaw, to refugees from Ukraine. Two of our secondees reflect on their experiences.
You can also read about our support for Ukrainian refugees one year after the conflict.
Social finance, UK
Access, the Foundation for Social Investment, works to make charities and social enterprises in England more self-reliant and financially resilient.
A team from A&O helped Access deliver two phases of a programme of support.
The first phase of the programme aimed to help the charity sector recover from a significant loss of funding and resources during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The second phase is a much bigger programme of work to shape the sector’s long-term recovery by making more patient and flexible investment products available to help social enterprises and charities rebuild and increase resilience.