Save the Children

A rewarding relationship

Over its almost 100-year history, Save the Children has been at the forefront of saving children’s lives and providing services directly to children in times of crisis.

Save the Children worked to safeguard children in Europe during the Second World War and today works in over 120 countries, with over 30,000 staff, providing much-needed services to children, including continuing its work helping those living in conflict-affected regions.

The charity runs world-class programmes to save children’s lives and challenge world leaders to keep their promises to give children a brighter future. Its central mission to educate, protect and care for children resonates around the world and is why this charity is supported by many of our offices, as well as many of the firms we partner with across the globe.

Freshfields began its pro bono relationship with Save the Children in 2009. Since then we have recorded over 16,000 hours of pro bono legal advice for five different member organisations around the world, which includes day-to-day institutional support, as well as in areas more closely linked to their humanitarian work.

‘Save the Children has a footprint in many countries and resulting complex legal needs. Freshfields has worked with us since 2009 and knows us intimately. We can trust them to understand us.’

Clare Canning
General Council, Save the Children International

In 2010–11 over 50 of our lawyers across 10 of our offices contributed more than 4,500 hours of pro bono advice on the global restructuring of Save the Children – the project streamlined the way the charity operates at a global level, unlocking huge benefits for children as Save the Children became more aligned as a global organisation. We also advised Save the Children on various urgent legal queries in relation to its work tackling the Ebola crisis in 2014–15.

In the past year we have been advising Save the Children International on managing its risk in the developing world, particularly in countries under international sanctions regimes. We have also built up a relationship with Save the Children Japan, advising it on various aspects of Japanese law. Our Singapore office is helping establish the Save the Children engagement centre in Singapore and advising on the structuring of the centre’s arrangements with the rest of the Save the Children network, as well as its relationships with corporate donors in the country.

In 2015 Save the Children International asked us for legal advice on the registration process to operate in various eastern European countries in relation to the current refugee crisis. It wanted to know about any tax obligations and employment issues as well as whether it would be able to act in a particular country pending receipt of formal registration. Through our relationship law firms, we were able to link Save up with law firms in seven jurisdictions across the region (Macedonia, Hungary, Serbia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Slovenia and Montenegro) to help provide this support.

We don’t just do Save the Children’s most important legal work; we also try to understand more about the charity and its work. We attend members’ meetings and briefings, and host talks by members of its policy team. Its sole trainee is linked up to our trainee development team, and we are helping its lawyers expand their skills.