At Udo Udoma & Belo-Osagie, pro bono service is an integral part of our firm’s culture because we believe that we have a vital role to play in strengthening and developing our community and one of the ways we are able to achieve this is through our pro bono work.
Our pro bono practice is at par with our other fee-earning practice areas, and we have a dedicated pro bono team that is committed to our work in this field. While pro bono work is not taken into account in performance evaluations, we strongly encourage all lawyers in the firm to take part in pro bono service.
As part of our pro bono work, we collaborate with reputable international pro bono organisations that receive requests for free legal support and work with a network of local and international charities. And we are always on the look out to expand this network and take on new projects. We welcome opportunities where our services can be of maximum benefit and confer meaningful social impact.
We are proud to have partnered with several organisations, including TrustLaw, Lex Mundi Pro Bono Foundation, the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s global pro bono legal programme, Sidley Austin under the Sidley Emerging Enterprises Pro Bono Program, and Advocates for International Development (A4ID), a global charity that works in partnership with the world’s leading law firms to provide free access to legal advice for non-governmental organisations (“NGOs”). Through these partnerships, our firm has had the opportunity to provide quality legal services and to help organisations and social enterprises achieve their social mission for free.
Our Pro Bono Activities in 2022 at a glance
In 2022, we contributed to the following research projects:
Gun Free South Africa
We were engaged by TrustLaw on behalf of Gun Free South Africa (“GSA”) to conduct research on the legal framework of firearm ownership and safety laws, as part of its objective to advocate for stricter gun laws to align with South Africa’s international obligations. The research spanned various jurisdictions, namely Colombia, Jamaica, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Our role involved conducting research into firearm ownership and safety laws in Nigeria and setting out our findings in the form of a memorandum. The final memorandum that will be developed from the research will be used as a resource for GSA’s lobbying, advocacy, and public education and awareness work. The memorandum will also be used to develop guidelines for the management of legal weapon and ammunition stocks based on global norms and standards, and best practices.
Norwegian Refugee Council
We were engaged by TrustLaw on behalf of Norwegian Refugee Counsel (“NRC”) in their bid to propose community land trusts (“CLTs”) as a practical solution to the challenges faced by refugees and internally displaced persons (“IDPs”) in relation to housing, land and property rights. Our role involved acting as the international coordinating firm in relation to a multi-jurisdictional research project across six countries – Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Bangladesh, Iraq, and Colombia. Our research focused on the existing legal frameworks for CLTs in these countries with a view to identifying gaps in these legislations to enable the NRC develop humanitarian programmes which will introduce CLTs where practicable and ensure the protection of the housing and land rights of displaced persons. Our work in this regard is critical, because, as reported by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) that around 30 million internally displaced persons, refugees and asylum-seekers live in Africa, representing almost one-third of the world’s refugee population. Beyond the need for shelter, these IDPs have need for healthcare, education, protection, asylum, etc. At UUBO, we are happy to provide assistance in other critical areas as it relates to refugees and IDPs.
In addition to our Pro Bono practice, the firm and its individual members support a variety of organisations and initiatives, including the following:
- Bloom Cancer Care & Support Centre
- Child Lifeline (Association for the Care of Children and Young Persons in… Need)
- The Art and Business Foundation, Lagos
- The African Leadership Academy
- The African Leadership Foundation
- The African Wildlife Foundation
- The Children’s Developmental Center (CDC)
- The Christian Missionary Fund
- The Growing Businesses Foundation
- The Nigerian Society for the Blind
- The Special Olympics