At RPC we care about people. We're committed to supporting all the communities in which we work by providing pro bono legal services to organisations and individuals that cannot afford legal assistance.
Introducing pro bono at RPC
Our pro bono programme is organised by associates and trainees and is built around the following three areas of focus:
1. Stopping Financial Crime
We use our anti-corruption and regulatory expertise to assist a number of partner organisations that are working to fight corruption domestically and globally. We work with Transparency International and give pro bono advice to a number of international groups including state groups and other investigative committees. This work includes providing advice on the ways in which tech can be used to fight financial crime.
2. Firm-wide projects
Our lawyers also volunteer their time and expertise on a range of other projects including:
We are working in partnership with Launch It, a charity that supports young entrepreneurs from disadvantaged backgrounds start a business through the provision of workspace, mentoring and training. Our lawyers run a programme of workshops and follow-on advice for Launch It's entrepreneurs on topics such as: legal '101' for individuals starting a business, IP, brand and marketing, commercial contracts and finance.
Justice without borders
Our Hong Kong office has partnered with Justice Without Borders (JWB) for the last 3.5 years to provide legal advice and services to victims of labour exploitation and human trafficking in the region. Our work includes providing training and ad hoc legal support to migrant workers who face challenges accessing justice, as well as Hong Kong corporate governance advice to JWB itself. Through this relationship, our Singapore office has also partnered with JWB, extending the range of our work with them.
Liberty Advice Line
We support Liberty, an independent membership organisation and human rights campaign group that works to challenge injustice and protect civil liberties. Our lawyers volunteer to help run Liberty's weekly Advice Line - a service that offers free advice to members of the public on human rights and related issues such as privacy concerns and employee rights.
3. Supporting student-led pro bono projects
We support a number of university pro bono programmes that are working to increase the representation of, and support available to, disadvantaged or marginalised individuals around the world. The projects that we currently support are:
National University of Singapore (NUS)
We provide financial support to an existing partnership between the National University of Singapore (NUS) and Hagar International, a charity that supports the recovery of individuals who have been victims of abuse or trafficking. Our financial support helps NUS and Hagar International to deliver legal training workshops for female migrant workers in Singapore. The workshops are run by qualified lawyers and provide an overview of the role of the courts, the purpose of a trial, and the criminal/ civil justice process. Law students from NUS participate in the workshops and provide support to the participants.
University of West of England
We provide financial support to the University of the West of England (UWE) to assist its work with the African Prisons Project, a charity working in prisons in Uganda and Kenya. The African Prisons Project provides free legal training and services to prisoners and prison staff, as well as working to improve prison conditions through the provision of libraries, health awareness and life-skills training. Our financial support to UWE helps students to create learning resources which are used by the African Prisons Project's staff and volunteers on the ground in East Africa.
King's College London's Law Society
We support KCL Law Society to enable students to participate in KCL's Mediation Project. The Mediation Project provides students with mediation skills training and gives them the opportunity to become accredited Civil and Commercial Mediators. The certification provides the students with the ability to volunteer in legal clinics on pro bono cases, in addition to helping them develop many important skills.
Our Hong Kong office are involved in PILnet's Law for Change Student Competition. This pairs teams of law students with legal mentors to develop projects using the law to address social justice issues in Hong Kong. The theme this year is “Community Resilience” and a team of 5 from RPC are mentoring a team of students from Hong Kong University on their project which focuses on assisting NGO start-ups.
In 2019 and 2020, our Hong Kong office was awarded a Silver Law Firm Award at The Law Society of Hong Kong's Pro Bono and Community Work Recognition Awards. Jonathan Crompton, a partner in the Hong Kong office who is also on the Advisory Board of JWB, and Stephanie Northcott, a Registered Foreign Lawyer, also each won an Individual Gold Award for their pro bono work, Jennifer Leung has been awarded an Individual Silver Award and Yuki Chiu an Individual Bronze Award.
Jonathan and Stephanie have also won a Grand Leadership Award in the Professional Volunteer Service Accreditation Recognition Programme (PVSA) 2019-20 jointly organised by the Hong Kong Council of Volunteering (HKCOV), Agency for Volunteer (AVS) and the Law Society of Hong Kong, and Jennifer has been awarded a Silver Award.