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Community Engagement

Community Engagement is one of the three core pillars of Mishcon de Reya’s approach to Responsible Business and encompasses pro bono, volunteering, fundraising and charitable giving. 

We are committed to delivering a material positive impact on society by collaborating for good in our communities. As a legal profession we are uniquely placed to satisfy unmet needs left by cuts to legal aid and improve access to law in the countries we operate in. 

At Mishcon de Reya, our purpose remains rooted in our core values. We have always been driven by an entrepreneurial, tenacious and socially conscious spirit: one that has embraced change in order to stay relevant and shape the future.  We have always relished our role in public life and support causes and campaigns driven by our people. From Lord Mishcon’s role on the Wolfenden Committee in the 1950s which led to the decriminalisation of male homosexuality in the UK, to our recent pro bono work for Appeal, assisting with Andy Malkinson’s two decade fight to have his wrongful conviction overturned. Our commitment is not limited to high-profile cases but also covers the wide range of legal clinics we resource and the charities we support through our volunteering, skills sharing, fundraising and charitable giving. 

 

The majority of our Community Engagement activity centres around two key areas of focus: 

Improving Access to Law

Focusing on projects and initiatives that work to remove barriers to ensure that anyone can access the law, including legal education, and using technology to increase access to law. 

Creating Opportunity

Playing a crucial and strategic role in unlocking opportunity and driving a level playing field for all people focusing on projects related to social mobility, racial equality, gender equity and empowerment.

Pro bono

We know how well-positioned we are as lawyers to have a positive impact on society. So, we use our expertise and experience, with our passion for justice that made us want to be lawyers in the first place. It also offers a wide range of development opportunities, particularly for our junior lawyers to gain experience that they might not see in their day-to-day client matters.

Below are some of the legal clinics our lawyers support:

Queen Mary Legal Advice Centre

We are proud to have a long-standing pro bono partnership with Queen Mary University of London and their Legal Advice Centre, with initiatives including:

Black Justice Project
We offer free legal advice for members of the Black community on employment discrimination, actions against police and immigration matters relating to the Windrush scandal.

Pink Law
We offer free legal advice supervising students from Queen Mary University London to members of the LGBT+ community on discrimination, family, and immigration matters.

SPITE (Sharing and Publishing Images to Embarrass)
SPITE provides victims of revenge porn with specialist free legal advice in matters of criminal law, civil law, privacy law, family law, as well as extensive practical advice. Lawyers and law students work closely with the Revenge Porn Helpline to ensure that clients have full assistance in removing images which are posted online.

RCJ Advice Centre

Our lawyers volunteer for the RCJ Advice Bureau, London's largest Citizen's Advice Bureau, providing free advice to litigants in person in the civil and family courts. 

University of Law Clinics

We volunteer at monthly online legal clinics providing free legal advice verbally to pro bono clients relating to corporate and family matters. The University of Law students observe and question the volunteer lawyer on the advice given. 

Working Families

Working Families is the UK’s work-life balance charity. Their mission is to remove the barriers that people with caring responsibilities face in the workplace. They provide free legal advice to parents and carers on their rights at work. Our volunteers assist with legal queries that families might have on their rights as workers.

Recent pro bono highlights

Azeem Rafiq

Azeem Rafiq became the youngest captain of Yorkshire County Cricket Club in 2012 and was also the first player of Asian origin to take up this mantle. However, Azeem faced significant racial discrimination at Yorkshire, which ultimately led to his cricket career ending prematurely.

In 2020, Azeem spoke out about the racism he and others had suffered at Yorkshire. In 2021 he appeared before a parliamentary committee to discuss his experience at Yorkshire. In 2022 he was the main witness in the disciplinary proceedings brought by the regulator against Yorkshire and seven individuals. Charges against seven of the eight defendants were upheld and Yorkshire admitted to institutional racism.

We have assisted Azeem with pro bono legal advice relating to the ECB proceedings. We have also advised in relation to media attacks against Azeem. We are very proud to have worked for such a brave man who has made such an enormous difference in cricket and beyond.

Andrew Malkinson

Andrew Malkinson

APPEAL is a charity and law practice dedicated to fighting miscarriages of justice and demanding reform. We provided pro bono assistance with a wider pro bono team on Andrew Malkinson's two-decade fight to clear his name.

In 2004, Mr Malkinson was convicted of rape, despite the absence of any forensic evidence linking him to the attack and notable discrepancies with the descriptions provided by eyewitnesses. Mr Malkinson spent more than 17 years in prison following his conviction, even though he was eligible for release after nearly six and half years.
 

Volunteering and skills sharing

Here are some of the charities we support through volunteering and skills sharing:

Age UK Telephone Befriending Service

Age UK's telephone befriending service matches volunteers with an older person for a 30-minute call once a week. The service has helped create hundreds of new friendships and for many older people, the call is the highlight of their week.

Chapter One

Chapter One is a virtual reading scheme for primary aged children where volunteers commit 30 minutes per week during term time over the course of the academic year. 

Elevate Mentoring

Oasis Hub Waterloo provides a transformative personalised support service for young people aged 11-18  providing mentors to young people will have a variety of needs, including low self-esteem, fragile family relationships, struggling at school, poor diet, commitment issues and negative peer pressure. By supporting these young adults, through advice and guidance, there can be ample change throughout their behaviour and lifestyle.

Speak Street

Speak Street is a monthly fun, social and engaging opportunity to support refugees and migrants to develop English skills at some of London’s most inspiring galleries and museums. The sessions are led by a Speak Street qualified ESOL teacher, who plans and directs each session.

The Mix

We are proud to support leading youth charity, The Mix, which provides young people with accurate information about their rights when interacting with the police. The project delivers accessible and engaging resources to provide young people with the knowledge they need to feel safe and empowered.

Young Citizens

We were pleased to partner with the charity Young Citizens  for the Big Legal Lesson 2024, a national campaign offering free classroom resources to allow more young people to learn about the law. We also volunteer for the Legal Experts in Schools programme which partners our volunteers with young people from local secondary schools to help with their understanding of the law and how it relates to their lives.

Charities and giving

The firm commits to significant core charitable partnerships, closely aligned with our key areas of focus. Current key partners include U-Go with which we are funding 100 scholarships for women in low-income countries to pursue higher education and the Lewa Education Programme, part of the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in Kenya, supporting Ngare Ndare primary and secondary schools, by funding teacher salaries. 

We also support the passions and interests of individuals at the firm through departmental fundraising, match funding through MishMatch and our quarterly Discretionary Fund, the charity recipients being chosen by the firm.

Lewa logo
U-Go

Fundraising and sponsorship

We also encourage our people to support charities that they are passionate about through fundraising and sponsorship of events and challenges. Recent challenges include 5km runs, 10km runs, half marathons, marathons, ultra marathons, 100 mile bike rides, quizzes, bake sales, raffles and sweepstakes.

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