European Law Firms Take In Refugee Ukrainian Law Students

International law firms and academics are working to help find displaced Ukrainian law students legal internships at firms across Europe via a program called Safe Harbors for UA Students. Thus far, 32 Ukrainian law students have secured internships through the initiative in cities such as Frankfurt, Berlin, Vienna, and Warsaw. Another 200 students have registered with the program and are awaiting placement at European law firms.

The firms are funding travel and accommodations for the students as well as providing a stipend for day-to-day expenses. Many of the students are in their late teens or early 20s, as law is an undergraduate area of study in Ukraine. Also, because all men between the ages of 18 and 60 have to remain in Ukraine to fight, all of the students are women. The program is limited to students who can speak and write in English and who have participated in international moot court activities, according to Reuters.

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Anna Masser, partner at Allen & Overy’s Frankfurt office, states that the program is “set up to last for three months.” Beyond this time frame, Masser is unsure of what sort of support the students can expect to receive. Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer; White & Case; and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom are some of the other 16 firms in Frankfurt alone that have committed to hosting students.

Patricia Shaughnessy, the Stockholm University law professor who came up with the idea for the program, says that about 50 law firms and legal groups have offered to help in some way. Shaughnessy has connections around the globe that she has drawn upon to further this initiative, as she volunteers with an international arbitration competition that attracts legal talent from 90 different countries.

Organizers for the program have spent much time reassuring parents that the program is legitimate, as, again, many of these students are young girls, some of whom have never left Ukraine.