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Travers Smith appoints Sam Cottman as first full-time Director of Pro Bono


Travers Smith has appointed Sam Cottman, a senior counsel in its Dispute Resolution team, as the firm's first full-time dedicated Director of Pro Bono.

Sam joined Travers Smith in 2006 and has enjoyed an impressive career in its Dispute Resolution Department. Ranked as a 'Rising Star' by The Legal 500, Sam recently co-led the team that successfully defeated the high-profile claim brought by property tycoon Robert Tchenguiz against Mr Jóhannes Jóhannsson and Grant Thornton UK LLP following the collapse of Kaupthing bank. The team won three legal industry awards for its work on the matter.

In addition to his dispute resolution expertise, for over a decade Sam has been deeply immersed in the firm’s CSR programme, including establishing and leading significant elements of its pro bono work, which have recently included the launch of the firm’s first ever advocacy unit to act for victims of domestic violence and a partnership with JUSTICE to investigate BAME overrepresentation in the criminal youth justice system. 

In his new role, Sam will, alongside CSR Partner Donald Lowe, be responsible for developing and managing the firm's portfolio of pro bono projects.  This includes our award-winning partnership with Refugees at Home, through which we provide both pro bono and strategic advice to support RaH's amazing work connecting those with a spare room in their home with asylum seekers and refugees in need of accommodation (150,000 free nights so far).

In addition, Sam will oversee the substantive pro bono advice the firm provides to its long-standing charity partners (which include City YMCA, Just Like Us, Brighter Futures Zambia, Giving Time and Mencap), as well as a number of advisory clinics (covering family law, consumer rights, debt and tenancy) and pro bono brokerages (including Advocates for International Development and Pro Bono Connect).

Sam Cottman commented: "I feel very privileged to have been entrusted with the responsibility of leading the firm on the next phase of its pro bono journey. It is a special firm, full of talented lawyers, a number of whom are already delivering superb work in this area. I am excited about the significant investment that the firm has committed to make to this area and what we can achieve in due course."

CSR Partner Donald Lowe said: "I am absolutely delighted that Sam has decided to take on this position having proven himself to be an exceptional senior lawyer in our market-leading Dispute Resolution team. Sam has been instrumental in driving a number of our pro bono initiatives and is recognised and respected right across the firm for his efforts in this area, as well as his contribution to other aspects of our award-winning CSR Programme, including his continuing involvement in our programme of charitable giving.

We are very proud of the depth and variety of our current pro bono offering and the creation of this new role demonstrates a significant investment and commitment by the firm to build on those foundations. Having a full time Director of Pro Bono, working alongside Chris Edwards, our excellent CSR & Diversity Director, will enable us to professionalise and strengthen our offering to ensure that we are well placed to meet the increasing need to provide free legal services to those who can least afford them."

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