The American Lawyer presented Shearman & Sterling with its highest honor, the Global Citizenship Award - Lifetime Achievement, at this year’s Global Legal Awards gala in New York City. The award, which hails the most significant undertaking in global pro bono and social responsibility, recognizes the firm’s exceptional support of the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), which was established by the United Nations to prosecute persons responsible for committing genocide. The firm’s work was also featured in a lengthy profile in The American Lawyer.
Over the past 15 years, more than 140 Shearman & Sterling attorneys, including partners, counsel and associates, have participated in on one- to two-month sabbaticals in Arusha, Tanzania to support the ICTR, which at the end of this year is winding up its United Nations mandate to bring Rwandan genocidaires to justice. This has been a fulfilling experience for the lawyers, who were confronted with stories not only of violence, but redemption and forgiveness.
One of the first notable examples of Shearman & Sterling’s work in Africa includes Litigation partner Stephen Fishbein leading the first of a half-dozen training sessions for Arusha genocide prosecutors in 2001. Several Shearman & Sterling attorneys followed Fishbein’s lead, donating about 57,000 hours (as of September 2015) of time prepping witnesses, drafting briefs and attending murder boards for every key case since 2000. Litigation partner Paula Anderson has provided pro bono services as a consultant at the ICTR, where she assisted in the prosecution of perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide. In recent years, Fishbein and Anderson -- and Shearman & Sterling broadly -- have also been involved in providing training and guidance to the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
“The work that Shearman & Sterling attorneys have done over the years has been life-changing, both for attorneys and the individuals they have offered their services to help,” said Saralyn Cohen, Pro Bono Counsel and Director of Pro Bono. “We are truly appreciative of this award as well as the experiences our relationship with the ICTR has provided.”