Droits D’urgence: Providing Free Legal Advice in Paris

For many years, lawyers in our Paris office have staffed a biweekly legal clinic with French humanitarian organization Droits d’urgence to help individuals in need address the legal, cultural, social, and linguistic hurdles that arise when navigating complex government bureaucracies.
Droits d’urgence has provided free legal advice and assistance to underserved residents of Paris for almost 30 years. The humanitarian organization’s mission is to help people become fully aware of their legal rights and promote access to justice. Since Latham began working with Droits d’urgence in 2012, our firm has donated more than 4,100 hours to this cause. More than 175 lawyers have participated over the years, making it one of the most significant pro bono partnerships in Paris.
Our lawyers advise individuals on immigration and labor law issues, and we help tackle the administrative paperwork associated with applying for French government-run and city-run social assistance programs.

"These matters offer a counterpart to our commercial work, with a possibility for a truly life-changing outcome."

Charles-Antoine Guelluy, partner, Latham & Watkins

“The firm’s relationship with Droits d’urgence enables our lawyers to work directly with people in dire need of legal assistance but who might not otherwise have access to representation,” explains Charles-Antoine Guelluy, a partner in the Paris office and member of the firm’s Pro Bono Committee.

Droits d’urgence provides each legal clinic volunteer with training materials and precedent cases to help them serve each individual’s unique needs, and a trained member of their staff is always on hand to assist the volunteers. “Sometimes the clients need help formulating the right questions to ask, writing a letter, filling out a form, or understanding their legal problems and how they can improve their situation,” explains Aurelien Lorenzi.

Recently our lawyers expanded their partnership with Droits d’urgence by opening a new legal clinic with Les Resto du Coeur, a nonprofit that assists those in need, including distributing food, in France.

“It’s a wonderful human experience for the legal clinic volunteers,” notes Charles-Antoine Guelluy. “They feel that they can assist clients with what can be an overwhelming and consuming issue, whether that’s an application for political asylum or drafting an order of protection against an abuser. These matters offer a counterpart to our commercial work, with a possibility for a truly life-changing outcome.”