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Herbies launches initiative to link Indian law students to local charities

Parsons: Cycles
Parsons: Cycles

Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) has started an initiative to connect Indian law students to local charities, having entered into associations with NLSIU Bangalore, NUJS Kolkata, Nalsar Hyderabad, NLU Jodhpur and NLU Delhi.

In a promotional video (see below) for the programme dubbed HSF Bridge, India group chairman Chris Parsons said that the idea came out of the work the firm had been doing with national law schools in India, and a 2,000 km charitable cycle ride of Parsons’ last year from London to Gibraltar. Part of the raised proceeds for the Loomba Foundation were funnelled into a project for widows and children near Kolkata’s Howrah railway station.

“I was struck by what a difference it could make, with these volunteers spending time with the children, interacting with them, reading with them, watching them draw,” said Parsons, “and when I went back to the university afterwards, I was discussing my day with the faculty, one of the faculty members said to me, why don’t you, through Herbert Smith Freehills, form some kind of a bridge between students at the law schools and local charities. And that’s exactly what we did.”

While memoranda of understanding (MOU) had been signed with five national law schools, he said that “the ultimate aim is to have arrangements with many many law schools across India so that thousands of students can be involved with volunteer projects through HSF Bridge, and hopefully act as a force for good across India.”

In the video NUJS alumnus and HSF associate Salonika Kataria added: “We will be working with various charities across India on different social causes, such as protecting street children and addressing the challenging issue of access to law. While the grass root cause of these problems may be beyond a single individual or institution’s power to change, we believe that every little effort counts and can help those in need move one step closer to a better future.”

Nalsar alum and HSF associate Prasan Dhar said: “Opportunities for working for a particular social cause at law school in India are typically limited to providing legal aid either through the work of the legal aid cell or through course work. I personally found that while these opportunities were rewarding, there was something missing. I also struggled with my confidence in providing legal advice at such an early stage of my career.”

The aim for the initiative would be to overcome some of those barriers, said Dhar.

Facebook page for HSF Bridge

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