Herbert Smith Freehills LLP - FDSL Sierra Leone: Ebola Crisis Management

The UPS International Disaster Relief Award, supported by the Department for International Development, Shortlisted, 2016

As well as helping to 'keep the lights on' during the Ebola crisis, Herbert Smith Freehills LLP's pro bono work in Sierra Leone helped to establish the firm as a leader in the field.

Good for society

  • Herbert Smith Freehills' pro bono legal advice helped the Government of Sierra Leone to 'keep the lights on' during the Ebola crisis by preventing key contractors from suspending services.
  • The firm also helped encourage impact investment in Sierra Leone's economy after the crisis by providing an independent, credible guide to investing.

Good for business

  • Herbert Smith Freehills' pro bono work in Sierra Leone helped to strengthen existing client relationships and build new ones.
  • The firm were also able to establish themselves as a leader in the international pro bono field, which had a positive impact on attracting employees and helping them feel proud to work at the firm

Herbert Smith FreehillsWith a GDP of just $4bn, Sierra Leone is heavily reliant on international finance to deliver basic services such as education and electricity to its people. To reduce poverty and increase resilience against crises such as Ebola, it must secure investment to create jobs and improve infrastructure.

Since 2010, law firm Herbert Smith Freehills LLP (HSF) has provided more than £2million worth of free legal advice to the Government of Sierra Leone. During the Ebola crisis they advised the government on negotiations with contractors providing essential services, such as water and power, who wanted to suspend their contracts. This would have seriously disrupted the humanitarian effort and affected communities all over the country.

After the crisis HSF helped to rebuild investor confidence in the region by producing an investor's guide with other UK businesses. Foreign investment can help Sierra Leone recover from the impact of Ebola, but getting "a fair deal" in negotiations with investors is critical to ensure sustainable, inclusive growth for the country and its people.

As well as helping to 'keep the lights on' in a time of crisis HSF's pro bono work in Sierra Leone strengthened the firm, establishing HSF as a leader in the field and leading to new client relationships.

What Herbert Smith Freehills LLP's Senior Partner said:

"I am very proud to participate and to contribute to growth and development in Sierra Leone. It is enormously sad that the country now faces the Ebola crisis. Our help for the Government with the legal consequences sees us putting our legal skills to very practical use." - Jonathan Scott, Senior Partner, Herbert Smith Freehills LLP