Sam Cottman

Sam Cottman

Head of Pro Bono

Sam is a partner and Head of Pro Bono.

Prior to his appointment as the firm's first Director of Pro Bono in March 2020, he spent 12 years in the firm's Dispute Resolution team during which time he was promoted to Senior Counsel, ranked by Legal 500 as a 'Rising Star' and co-led the team which won Commercial Litigation Team of the Year at all three major legal awards.

Earlier in his career he was selected as a judicial assistant in the Court of Appeal (ultimately working for the Lord Chief Justice) and also seconded to the Serious Fraud Office in a high-profile role in one of the regulator’s blockbuster investigations.

Throughout his career Sam has played a significant role in the firm's pro bono practice, with a particular focus on acting for victims of domestic violence and international development work. He has taken a lead role in shaping the firm's pro bono work, including creating teams to act for victims of domestic abuse and human trafficking. He also runs the firm's partnerships with a number of pro bono brokerages and with human rights organisation JUSTICE (looking into the over representation of BAME youth in the criminal youth justice system).

Sam has re-configured the firm's pro bono strategy to focus on four key areas:

  1. Climate, Environment and Sustainability
  2. Diversity, Inclusion and Social Mobility
  3. Vulnerable Groups (Domestic Violence, Refugees etc)
  4. Rule of Law

In 2020 Sam won both the Wig & Pen Prize for outstanding contribution to pro bono and the LawWorks award for Best Contribution by an Individual to pro bono. In 2021, he was short-listed by the Law Society for Solicitor of the Year and by the IBA for their global pro bono award. Travers Smith also won best CSR Programme at the Legal Business Awards in 2021 and Best Company for Pro Bono at the Better Society Awards in 2022 for its domestic abuse work, which included the launch of the Domestic Abuse Response Alliance (DARA) which was founded by Sam.

Sam is also the founder of the Cottman Foundation, a charity which tackles domestic violence, knife crime and human trafficking and funds clean water projects, homes for abandoned children and youth sports programmes.

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