Six major law firms partner with US pro bono legaltech Paladin for UK launch

UK Magic Circle firm Clifford Chance among partners helping Paladin bring pro bono legal offering to UK audience
Clifford Chance's headquarters

Clifford Chance's UK headquarters in Canary Wharf Shutterstock

Paladin, a US-based pro bono legal technology company, is launching across the pond in partnership with six major law firms to expand its pro bono platform for lawyers and business professionals in the UK. 

The expansion comes via the company's partnership with six law firms who are already using Paladin’s platform in the US: Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, McDermott Will & Emery, Vedder Price, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Winston & Strawn and Clifford Chance. 

Following the expansion, the partner firm’s NGO, charity and clearinghouse partners in London and Newcastle will have access to a free version of Paladin’s platform to post pro bono and community outreach opportunities to be referred through a centralised workflow dashboard. 

Lawyers will be able to filter opportunities by practice area, communities served and the type of engagement required for each pro bono opportunity, which they will be able to complete either in person or remotely. 

The company said it also hopes to forge connections between firms and organisations working on ‘timely issues’ like Covid-19 relief and racial justice, two issues that have contributed to a spike in demand for pro bono work over the last year. 

Clifford Chance, which has nearly doubled its annual pro bono hours in the first year of partnering with Paladin in the US, will be a ‘key partner’ in the launch, the company said in a statement. 

“We believe it is important not only to do good, but to be smart about how we do it, and Paladin is the perfect partner for any law firm chasing the same goals,” Tom Dunn, Clifford Chance pro bono director, said. “With just a few clicks, Paladin better matches those with skills they want to offer to those in need, leaving everyone better off.”

Co-founded in 2016 by chief executive Kristen Sonday and company chairperson Felicity Conrad, Paladin counts a number of other large law firms and corporations as customers in the US, including international heavyweight Dentons and Texas firm Holland & Knight as well as national wireless network provider Verizon and California-based tech giant Dell. 

“Our partner firms in the U.S. have been asking to expand Paladin’s platform globally, which is a testament to the value they’re seeing in streamlining their volunteer programs through Paladin, as well as the need for innovation in the pro bono ecosystem,” Sonday explained. 

“Clifford Chance in particular has long been a global leader in social impact and responsible business, and a thought partner in how we consider and measure volunteer contributions to global development goals,” she said, adding that Paladin “could not be more honoured” to be partnering with Clifford Chance on the expansion. 

Earlier this year, Matheson, Ireland’s largest law firm, broke new ground when it became the first Irish firm to appoint a pro bono partner when it named legal and regulatory affairs director Niamh Counihan to the position in July. 

Pro bono work has become increasingly important to large law firms around the world in recent years, with the number of dedicated pro bono partners at large law firms jumping by more than ten times over the last two decades, according to a report published last year and co-authored by DLA Piper, the Australian Pro Bono Centre, the Pro Bono Institute in Washington DC and the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

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