Celebrating our Partnership with Allen & Overy, a Champion of Social Justice

February 23, 2024
Category: Communications | Partnerships | Platinum Sponsor Series

In a world where access to justice is often limited by economic, social, and cultural hurdles, partnerships between legal aid nonprofits and law firms shine as a beacon of hope. 

Since 2017, the Hong Kong, Singapore and Jakarta offices of Allen & Overy (A&O) have joined forces with JWB to build access to justice for migrant domestic workers (MDWs), empowering MDWs to hold abusers accountable and secure just compensation even after returning home.  To celebrate our fruitful partnership, we would like to highlight the collective impact made together and the contribution of A&O to the cause of access to justice.

Giving Back to Society

Founded in 1930, A&O is one of the largest global law firms in the world. Their expertise in banking & finance, capital markets and dispute resolution matters has attracted high profile clients like Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and The London Stock Exchange. With extensive expertise, robust infrastructure, and an international footprint spanning 40+ offices, A&O harnesses its global reach and resources to give back to the community.

A&O’s vision is set out in its Responsible Business statements and practices. The firm commits to  “giving back, supporting initiatives at a grassroots level, and building a fair and equitable society”. 

Scaling up Impact through the Social Impact Group (SIG)

The Social Impact Group (SIG) was established to realize this vision. 

SIG facilitates the building of community partnerships, creating volunteering opportunities for staff and advising beneficiaries partners on legal and finance matters.  SIG has worked with NGOs to support the resettlement of Ukranian and Afghan refugees, promotion of LGBTIQ+ rights across Africa, legal education in UK and trained organizations to help victim-survivors of sexual violence in Hong Kong.  

In 2023, the A&O community logged a whooping 78,000 hours in pro bono projects, seeing an 56% increase compared to last two years. The firm and its partners also raised a substantial sum of £3.9 million,including £2.4 million through the Allen & Overy Foundation to provide grants for non-profits.

Staff also volunteer in SIG’s flagship project –  the Global Charity Partnership. It brings the firm’s people  together to support one charity with in-kind support, free legal advice and fundraising of up to  £1 million. For  Street Child, A&O successfully raised £1.5 million and helped over 1,000 girls in Sierra Leone to enroll in secondary school. 

Catherine Husted, Head of Social Impact, Hong Kong at A&O affirmed the importance of partnerships, “It is important to build trust between A&O and our NGO partners – open conversations are key to good relationships. This way, A&O can better understand the challenges faced by marginalized communities and develop solutions, either through pro bono work, community outreach programmes, financial and in-kind donations and other social impact initiatives.”

Partnership with JWB

Since 2017, A&O has contributed an estimated 783.5 pro bono hours of service to assist JWB’s litigation, training events, strategic development, and fundraising endeavors. The total in-kind value of A&O’s contributions amounts to approximately US$310,917.

Matt Bower, partner at A&O Hong Kong, commented “We are proud of the partnership and know that more has been achieved because of the complementary skills of our organisations. JWB is on the frontlines and identifies issues as they arise – A&O can step in and provide relevant legal assistance in the most impactful way for the migrant workers.”

Allen and Overy (Hong Kong) at JWB’s annual fundraising event – Happy Hour on a Mission 2022 (Right: Matt Bower)

Aside from representing MDW clients, A&O is also an ardent supporter of JWB’s capacity building efforts. Tarsis Halintar (Hali), partner at Ginting & Reksodiputro in association with A&O, served as a guest speaker for JWB’s Programme AKSES, and co-hosted a training workshop for Women Crisis Centre Mawar Balqis on MDWs’ contractual rights in Indonesia. A total of 32 participants, including paralegals, former MDWs and local authorities were trained. These valuable sessions facilitated knowledge transfer among the frontline organizations in helping MDWs pursue cross-border claims more efficiently.

JWB training with Women Crisis Centre Mawar Balqis at 10 – 11 February, 2023

Hali commented, “JWB’s commitment to advocating for the rights and welfare of these workers is commendable.  Their efforts contribute to creating a more just and equitable society where all individuals, regardless of their background, are treated with dignity and respect.”

Tarsis Halintar (Hali) speaking at the training

We can all make a difference 

Lawyers individually, and law firms, have the power to create a more just world. It is the shared passion to help marginalized communities that makes our partnership last. As Catherine said, “We can all make a difference in the life of someone who needs a helping hand – even small gestures of kindness can have a big impact”.