A&O’s secondees assistance refugees fleeing Ukraine with pro bono authorized guidance | Allen & Overy LLP

In the months following the invasion of Ukraine, a team of law companies and NGOs worked with each other to mobilise a collaborative pro bono reaction to support Ukrainian refugees in Poland. The consequence was the joint secondment programme with Safe and sound Passage Worldwide (SPI) and European Legal professionals in Lesvos (ELIL), in which A&O and quite a few other firms* are getting element.

In the months subsequent the invasion of Ukraine, a group of law firms and NGOs worked alongside one another to mobilise a collaborative professional bono response to assist Ukrainian refugees in Poland. The end result was the joint secondment programme with Safe and sound Passage International (SPI) and European Lawyers in Lesvos (ELIL), in which A&O and quite a few other companies* are taking section. The programmes give the firms’ legal professionals the option to obtain precious encounter about supporting refugees in Poland dealing with the actuality of the stresses and feelings that displaced Ukrainian family members are heading by, although providing essential steerage to help them with the several legal needs they face on their journeys.

For Elizabeth Shorland, volunteering to be a secondee was an simple choice. Her family members had been hosts to a Ukrainian lady the same age as Elizabeth due to the fact April 2022, soon just after the conflict commenced, and so early on, Elizabeth had a 1st-hand perception into the fact of the war and the impression on its folks. She became the first A&O London secondee with SPI to journey to Poland.

Elizabeth claimed, “At the time of my secondment we were only current in two centres for refugees, one of which was a big household hall. There had been no personal rooms so finding a place in which we could suggest was a challenge. The Blue Dot Centre in central Warsaw had a distinct format, with areas in which UNHCR personnel could evaluate refugees’ requirements and enable them fully grasp which expert services they were being entitled to. There was also support for young children, as effectively as mother and child classes. In both destinations, it was a problem of creating the most of the space that we had.”

At the time of my secondment we had been only present in two centres for refugees, a single of which was a substantial household hall. There were being no private rooms so discovering a put the place we could advise was a problem.

Elizabeth Shorland

A&O’s partnership with SPI related new secondees with a lot more skilled legal professionals as properly as translators, to supervise the function. A lot of of the challenges have been around eligibility for specific schemes to relocate to the Uk and to support with software processing. There was a large amount to find out in a two-7 days secondment prior to handing around to a fresh new cohort.

For Jakub Zabraniak, who was seconded to ELIL, doing the job with the refugees was an psychological as a great deal as a lawful challenge. “People who had just arrived from Ukraine into Warsaw shared their stories – they’d experienced no one to listen to them. And you stored thinking about these stories and preferred to aid as much as you could.”

Jakub was the 1st secondee from the A&O Warsaw office, to begin with advising the refugees through his two-week secondment and then collaborating with the professional bono workforce to distribute the news about the programme and the legal support readily available. Seeking again on his knowledge, Jakub said, “It was great to share my experience to aid with on-boarding other A&O lawyers to the challenge. Their response was amazing.”

The original pilot stage of the secondment programme, which was meant to last a few months, has now been extended to twelve. Secondees can select to perform with ELIL for 3 months, with two times every 7 days focused to the secondment, or for two weeks the place they do the job every working day. Jakub admits that while the two alternatives are feasible, he generally suggests the latter a person, due to the fact normally it could be challenging to balance the working day-to-day function with secondment commitment. It is also greater for ELIL to have the regularity of the exact secondee for a whole two weeks.

Risk-free Passage and ELIL supply complete coaching for the secondments alongside one another with a dedicated joint project co-ordinator to assist secondees come across their ft, manage workloads and understand the quite a few unique procedures associated. Thoughts from refugee shoppers could be very precise, significantly exactly where families have been divided and hoping to create a everyday living in Poland, even if quickly.

For the duration of a two-7 days secondment, a lawyer could expect to see about 100 people and response around 400 inquiries. Over the program of the conflict, the inquiries have transformed. In the early times, individuals wanted to know how to legalise their keep in the shorter-term, but what the group is seeing now, is a shift to inquiries directed at how to organise a extended-expression keep. The war in Ukraine is evolving all the time, and the concerns and worries for refugees are reflective of the adjustments they are dealing with as time goes on.

What does it choose to be a secondee for these programmes at A&O?

“You need to have a potent will to get caught in and take part,” explained Jakub. “It’s tricky get the job done, but incredibly worthwhile. I am proud and satisfied to have experienced the likelihood to support.”

Previous post BU pupils host Immigration Law Convention
Next post UAE unveils Global Initiative of Legislation Enforcement for Climate