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Law Firms, UILA and Irish Red Cross Win Volunteering Award for Ukrainian Refugee Support Project

Services: Impactful Business Programme Date: 15/09/2023


Collaborative Pro Bono Project Supporting Ukrainian Refugees Recognised at Chambers Ireland Sustainable Business Impact Awards

The legal community's collaborative initiative to support Ukrainian refugees in Ireland has won the Partnership with Charity (LIC) / Volunteering award at the Chambers Ireland Sustainable Business Impact Awards 2023.

Led by Matheson LLP and A&L Goodbody LLP, with the involvement of six other law firms (Arthur Cox LLP, William Fry LLP, Walkers (Ireland) LLP, Philip Lee LLP, Dechert LLP and Comyn Kelleher Tobin LLP), the collaborative effort was delivered in partnership with the Irish Red Cross and the Ukraine Ireland Legal Alliance (UILA) to provide critical access and supports to Ukrainians who had recently arrived in Ireland, having fled the conflict in Ukraine.

The comprehensive initiative delivered legal outreach clinics and frontline support to 840 Ukrainians displaced by war and receiving refuge on Maynooth University campus over a six-week period in July and August 2022.  A team of 124 volunteer lawyers, law firm professionals and interpreters provided a range of assistance, including:

  • developing and resourcing onsite legal information clinics, which provided information on a range of matters including accessing services in Ireland, such as employment, social welfare, education, setting up a business in Ireland and housing;
  • distributing €40,000 worth of welfare vouchers;
  • providing critical information gathering and data entry support; and
  • liaising with host families to assist in the location of suitable accommodation for over 800 Ukrainians.

Commenting on the award, Niamh Counihan, Pro Bono Partner, Matheson, stated:

"We are immensely proud to receive the Partnership with Charity (LIC) / Volunteering award, which recognises the collaborative efforts of our firm, the UILA, the Irish Red Cross, and our partner law firms in supporting Ukrainian refugees in Ireland.  This award is a testament to our commitment to championing social justice and making a positive impact on the lives of those in need and serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of collaboration, pro bono work, and the invaluable contributions that the legal community can make towards building a more inclusive and just society. I want to express my sincere gratitude to each and every pro bono volunteer for their commitment and dedication in supporting these important initiatives."

Rosemarie Hayden, Irish Red Cross Pro Bono and Volunteer Coordinator said:

"It has been a wonderful experience to collaborate with Matheson as part of the Ukraine Ireland Legal Alliance Ukrainian support programme. The benefits of the engagement ranged from the benefit to clients who greatly appreciate the pro-bono high quality legal assistance; the lawyers involved have benefited from the personal satisfaction of involvement in a hugely impactful programme directly assisting people with immediate significant issues, and the organisations all benefit from increased collaboration and cooperation across an ever growing range of issues."

The Chambers Ireland Sustainable Business Impact Awards showcase best practice in sustainable development and social responsibility undertaken by companies of all sizes across Ireland.

Matheson's partnership with Irish Rule of Law International for the Matheson LLP Commercial Law Training Programme in South Africa – which helped to upskill and mentor South African lawyers from disadvantaged backgrounds -  was also shortlisted in the Partnership with Charity (LIC) category.

For more information about Matheson and its pro bono initiatives, please visit our dedicated hub

Pictured (L – R): Ian Talbot, Chief Executive, Chambers Ireland; Niamh Counihan, Pro Bono Partner, Matheson LLP; Rosemarie Hayden, Irish Red Cross Pro Bono and Volunteer Coordinator; [presenter]; Eithne Lynch, Head of Pro Bono, A&L Goodbody LLP; and Kateryna Andarak, Associate, Arthur Cox LLP.


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