Christy Leung is a partner in the Hong Kong office of U.S. law firm Winston & Strawn. She is an individual sponsor for Justice Without Borders, and also leads a team of litigators to support JWB’s work on behalf of vulnerable migrant workers. Their services are all pro bono.
“It is fulfilling take part in charitable opportunities where we can apply our skills as litigators,” said Christy, whose team has recently been assisting on cases around migrant domestic worker (MDW) being coerced into signing loan agreements to pay off agency and training fees.
“You hear about these loan agreements that MDWs are being made to sign, but when you’re actually working these types of cases, you can feel how impactful these unlawful debts are for them, especially since they have to leave home and their own kids in order to provide for their own families,” said Christy.
Christy resonates with JWB’s mission to improve access to justice for MDWs because it hits so close to home.
Her family has employed two MDWs from the Philippines, whom she affectionately calls “aunties”, to help support her family of two young children, her husband and herself. They provide support all around, helping with caring for her young children and looking after the household.
“I trust and rely on them so much” said Christy. “The degree of thoughtfulness, care and skills they put into the kids’ meals, for example, is something you don’t see until you start working from home. They would make sushis, bake pizzas, and bake cookies together,” she explained. “Cooking is not my strength, and my children know that,” she said, laughing.
To her family, their aunties, one of whom has been working with her for over six years and the other has been working with her for over four years, are part of the family tree. “There’s no other way. We love them, my children love them, and they are very much part of our family,” said Christy. “I feel very strongly about justice for them.”
“Giving back” is how Christy describes her support for JWB.
“As a group, MDWs have contributed so significantly to the entire economy,” said Christy. “They have released so much of the workforce and enabled parents, especially women like me to go back to our careers because of the support they provide at home.”
Winston & Strawn is very committed to pro bono services, Christy says, but the legal industry as a whole has much more to offer. “There are quite a lot of firms contributing a lot of resources and efforts to different charitable projects and organisations, but as an industry can we do more? Yes, I think we can, and we can do so not only by providing legal services and advice” she said.
By Jessica Seah, PR Volunteer @JWB
The platinum sponsor series features our platinum sponsors from 2021. They share their experience in teaming up with JWB, why they are passionate about helping migrant workers and how this partnership makes a difference.