October 28, 2014
Gibson Dunn’s Dubai office continues to be heavily involved in the Holy Trinity Church’s Pro Bono Advice Clinic in Oud Metha, Dubai. The first of its kind in the region, the clinic offers individuals experiencing a broad range of legal problems the opportunity to obtain free legal advice from the clinic’s volunteers. The firm’s groundbreaking work with the clinic was recently recognized at the Corporate Counsel Middle East Awards, where it won the Group Achievement Award. Gibson Dunn was also recently recognized as Pro Bono Law Firm of the Year in the International Financial Law Review Middle East Awards in respect of its work on the clinic.
The volunteers at the clinic take a very proactive approach, often going beyond the scheduled monthly sessions, to assist individuals in a range of ways from free legal representation in court to negotiating with third parties to settle debt claims. Other recent examples include re-housing a South African family, regularizing visa statuses of individuals to help them avoid deportation and assisting domestic servants who find themselves in abusive situations.
The clinic has gone from strength to strength over the last year. As a signal of how well the clinic has been received by the community in Dubai, the clinic is expanding to open another base in Abu Dhabi – a project spearheaded by Gibson Dunn partner Richard Ernest. The clinic has also reached out to local law firms to further its capability in local law. For example, one of the top local law firms has agreed to update the information sheets that the clinic provides to volunteers to give them basic information on Dubai’s legal and regulatory systems. Future plans for the clinic include the development of a website, as well as closer collaboration with a number of local associations such as the Association of Corporate Counsel.