The Lawyer European Awards 2022: ZRVP wins Best ESG Initiative award for the pro bono legal assistance in the Colectiv File
Law firm Zamfirescu Racoți Vasile & Partners (ZRVP) was named by The Lawyer the best firm in Europe in the category ESG Initiatives – Environmental, Social, Governance, following the awards ceremony that took place in London on November 22, 2022. The category ESG Initiative, researched for the first time in Europe in 2022, awards the most impactful initiatives of top law firms in Europe in the area of pro bono work, diversity programs and environmental projects. ZRVP won also in 2019 the Best European Litigation Team award for the spectacular win in the Romanian State vs Chevron case.
The Colectiv pro bono project, awarded in the Best ESG Initiative category at The Lawyer European Awards 2022, was considered by the international jury as the initiative with the highest social impact carried out by a law firm in Europe.
The Colectiv Project involved the legal assistance for 45 survivors and persons close to the victims from Colectiv Club, in one of the largest and most complex pro bono projects carried out in Romania, for almost 6 years, with the participation of the attorneys at law in hundreds of prosecution activities and presence in front of the court of law at over 150 hearings, with a total volume of work of over 3,000 hours of legal assistance on penal matters. The team of attorneys at law allotted to this case, coordinated by Călin-Andrei Zamfirescu (senior partner and founder of ZRVP), was formed of Doru Cosmin Ursu (managing associate), Ionuț Chisăr (senior associate) and George Avram (senior associate).
“Our commitment for an outstanding client service is not only reflected in the legal advice and representation provided in the courtroom, but also in the protection of any citizen to whom we are able to provide pro bono assistance, within the limits of our availability. It is the way we give back to the community what we know is important and matters, in line with our values and beliefs. Creating a climate of understanding and respect for the law and for each other is also achieved through these kinds of activities, which are available to any lawyer. The recognition received from The Lawyer honours us and encourages us to continue supporting social initiatives”, said Călin-Andrei Zamfirescu, senior partner ZRVP.
On 12 May 2022, after over seven years since the tragedy that shocked and bereaved Romania, the magistrates of the Bucharest Court of Appeal ruled the final judgment in case file 17008/3/2016 (“Colectiv Case”). The solution delivered by the Bucharest Court of Appeal is the result of a lawsuit started in 2015, following the fire from the Colectiv Club where 64 persons lost their lives and some other tens were seriously injured. The case file was, by the extent of the damages, the complexity of the tragedy caused, and, especially, by the sphere of the guilty persons, unprecedented in the practice of the Romanian courts. The decision represents a caselaw benchmark in the future practice of the courts of law and responsible conduct guidelines for public servants and entrepreneurs.
The team continues to manage pro bono more than 160 civil cases opened by the civilly liable parties, The Romanian General Inspectorate for Emergency Situations and District 4 City Hall, to suspend/contest the payment of damages.
Eight European top law firms have been shortlisted in the category Best ESG Initiative: Zamfirescu Racoți Vasile & Partners (Romania), ECIJA (Spain, Portugal, Latin America), Abreu Advogados (Portugal), Sayenko Kharenko (Ukraine, UK), William Fry (Irland), Bird & Bird (global law firm with presence in 28 countries), Kochański & Partners (Poland) and Aequo (Ukraine).
The Lawyer European Awards event celebrates excellence across the European legal market and rewards top law firms annually, based on, among others, the ability to manage complex projects, high quality of services, strategic management and the contribution of leadership to the evolution and development of businesses during the last 12 months, robust partnership culture, gender diversity initiatives and the involvement in social responsibility and pro-bono projects. This year, over 120 independent and international firms competed for the 24 trophies at The Lawyer European Awards 2022.