Set up in 2012 with the idea of consolidating all of Gide's public interest initiatives into a single programme, Gide Pro Bono is our firm's sponsorship programme. It is made up of:
1. Annual financial sponsorship granted each year to selected projects and charities, which must meet one of the following three guiding principles:
Access to law and justice; or
Solidarity with those most in need.
Such financial sponsorship is made possible thanks to the Gide Pro Bono endowment fund, which is paid into annually by all the firm's partners, to the amount of EUR 250,000. Over the past ten year, EUR 2.5 million euros have thus been allocated to various projects, including the Fondation d'Auteuil, Article 1, ATD Quart Monde, Droits d'Urgence, InitiaDROIT, JRS France, Linkee, Lire pour en Sortir, Plan International France, Proxité and Singa.
2. Skills sponsorship of up to 40 hours per person per year during working hours, for projects and charities approved by the firm's Pro Bono Commission. In the past ten years, over 20,000 hours have been donated by 500 lawyers and employees to around one hundred projects and charities worldwide.
Maxime Houles, associate specialising in employment law, speaks about his experience to date: "Since 2017, we have been assisting the Asmae-Sœur Emmanuelle charity, an independent and secular international solidarity NGO working with the most vulnerable children and young people, in resolving the everyday legal issues it encounters as part of its activities in France and abroad. We regularly act on subjects related to Asmae's relations with its employees in France or expatriates in the countries it is active in, as well as with its volunteers. I also help to find the right contact within the firm when there are legal needs in other fields of expertise."
Margaret Boswell, Gide's London office partner in charge of Pro Bono, says: "Most of our Pro Bono efforts concern Young Lives vs Cancer, which does invaluable work for young people with cancer and their families. We review a wide range of contracts (sponsorship agreements, contracts with service providers, licensing agreements) and run training workshops on the basics of contract law and negotiation: these are always very friendly occasions where we get the chance to meet our stakeholders face to face. All the members of the Gide London office involved greatly appreciate the work we do with YLVC."
For their part, Aude-Laurène Dourdain and Marion Nicolas, both associates of our Banking & Finance practice group, are delighted to have been able to work on France's first Development Impact Contract with international reach: "Alongside KOIS, we had the opportunity to work with CARE France, the French Development Agency and BNP Paribas on France's first Development Impact Contract (Contrat à Impact Développement) with international reach for the implementation of a public-private pilot programme whose objective is to contribute to the health, education and empowerment of women in Ethiopia by combating menstrual insecurity. The Gide Pro Bono programme enabled us to work on this project in good conditions, and to rely on the expertise of the firm's lawyers when technical issues arose. We are proud to have been able to contribute in our own way to this topic that still goes largely unspoken, and which seeks to raise awareness in the political sphere, civil society and the general public about menstrual health and hygiene and, more broadly, about the situation of women in Ethiopia."
Lastly, Mergers & Acquisitions / Corporate Law partner Julien David tells us about the long-term work done with his team to set up the Alliance Urgences donation platform: "During humanitarian crises, NGOs launch fundraising campaigns to obtain donations from the public and act to alleviate the emergency situation. These organisations all devote time and resources to launching competing donation campaigns, even though they are all related to the same crisis. For their part, donors are inundated with information, and no longer know which NGO to support. Six major NGOs, which were used to working together, coordinating their actions in the field and pooling their resources, decided to go one step further and join forces to launch a common donation platform, a first in France. This tool makes it possible send a more legible and impacting message to the media and potential donors, all the while reducing spending. The establishment of this platform raised some practical and legal questions that had never been addressed before. Several of the firm's practices were involved in this large-scale project. Gide started working on this innovative project in January 2018, and the platform's first campaign was launched in January 2020."
Gide would like to warmly thank all the firm's teams, who work on 40 to 50 projects pro bono every year!