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Euclid Transactional's work with Kids in Need of Defense

In House Pro Bono Stories

Daniella Smith_Euclid.jpg

We sat down with Daniella Smith, General Counsel and Managing Director EMEA of Euclid Transactional to talk about their work supporting Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) UK, helping refugee families to apply for citizenship for their children.

Please tell us a little bit about a recent successful pro bono project

We do a lot of work with DLA and wanted to get involved with a pro bono project. DLA do lots of pro bono that their clients can become involved with as well, so we started working with Kids In Need Of Defense (KIND) UK, helping refugee families to apply for citizenship for their children. Even where parents have a right to stay, a child will not automatically have UK citizenship even if they have been born and raised here. It is not easy to apply as you have to provide referees and pay a £1,200 fee so, so a lot of time is spent helping families request a fee waiver, which involves collecting and presenting a lot of complex financial evidence.

How did you source this project? 

A secondee from DLA told us about it and I thought it sounded great. There are around 12 of us from Euclid working in small groups of 2 or 3 people, with 2 or 3 from DLA, all working on separate applications.


Walk us though how you launch a project internally. How do you get from an idea to sourcing volunteers?

We have breakfast meetings and I spoke about it there. I followed up asking for volunteers and when people overheard others talking about it in the office, they became curious about helping. Insurance is provided by DLA.


What made this particular project successful in your view?

People enjoy stepping into another world that is separate from their day-to-day work and these applications are a really specific thing we can help with. Groups work on one application to help a particular family so people feel a great sense of responsibility and like that they are making a tangible difference. The fee waivers can be a humbling reminder that the corporate world is small and there are positive ways we can help the communities that surround us.


How did you ensure volunteer engagement/senior stakeholder buy in?

When we explained what it entailed, people wanted to get involved. Most people involved are trained lawyers so there were some colleagues who felt like they couldn't help, but we clarified that everyone could contribute, whether legally qualified or not. KIND provides all the necessary training materials and support.


What lessons did you learn from this project which you will apply to future projects?

To begin with it was a steep learning curve, working out what we needed to do. In the beginning we sent lots of emails to the families but quickly worked out that we needed to call them more as some of them can’t access a computer, so it was good for helping to develop the right communication skills. It's been great for the juniors to figure out the answers to questions because no-one really knows the answers, but KIND ran a training session for us and provided really helpful materials. I think people are enjoying realising you can transfer legal skills and apply them to different things and projects can be more enjoyable when the subject matter is outside your immediate day job.  


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