SIGNUM’s Values: Integrity and Good Citizenship that Makes a Real Impact in Support of Diversity, Future Leaders, Children, Community, Education and Rule of Law.
Pro bono practice is our pride and the core of our corporate culture. Our values - integrity and good citizenship that makes a real impact on support of diversity, future leaders, children, community, anti-corruption, education and rule of law.
We are committed to support the community to make a real impact on improving anti-corruption rules, children and youth lives and education, rule of law, educational system and business climate. We are extremely proud of the outcomes we have achieved within the community we live in.
We treat pro bono work in the same manner as any other clients’ work. The Firm created a culture that encourages everyone to participate in our pro bono practice. We request everyone to make a sustained commitment to pro bono work and, as a result, in 2018 we had the highest participation rate ever. We would specially like to mention the following examples of our Firm’s recent pro bono work as 2018 highlights:
Future Leaders Development Program
Helping youth of developing country to grow competitive and skillful in a changing world is missionary activity for some of our lawyers. SIGNUM in collaboration with AQLab.kz, places enormous emphasis on sharing experience, knowledge and skills with teenagers and youth within regular tailored made “Future leaders development program”. This program is designed in very innovative and unique format, including team work, simulation games, case studies, etc. More than 40 young people have attended the program in 2018. Our Partners – Talgat Sariev and Sofiya Zhylkaidarova – were mentoring and coaching on such important skills like critical thinking, problem solving, etc.
We strongly committed to support diversity and inclusion. One of the achievements - initiating the Women in Law Committee within the Kazakhstan Bar Association by our partner Sofiya Zhylkaidarova along with like-minded colleagues from SIGNUM and the legal community. This Committee is primarily aimed to generate public awareness about the disparity between men and women in the professional arena.
Sofiya Zhylkaidarova also contributed as mentor in the EBRD’s Program for mentoring women in business aiming to promote women in business and to help women to grow and develop as leaders.
SIGNUM is actively involved in the pro bono project providing legal services to the Corporate Fund “SOS Children's Villages of Kazakhstan” – charity help to orphaned children, abandoned children and children in trouble, as well as to mothers, carrying out their upbringing. The Corporate Fund “SOS Children's Villages of Kazakhstan is a local subsidiary of SOS Villages Children’s Villages International, a global federation working to protect and care for children who have lost parental care, or who stand at risk of losing it, actively working with communities, partners and states to ensure that the rights of all children, in every society, are fulfilled.
As part of the project, SIGNUM lawyers - Gaukhar Kudaibergenova and Rustam Baitazin have dedicated more than 150 hours of legal services on corporate, intellectual property and regulatory matters. “SOS Children's Villages of Kazakhstan” stands at the origins of our pro bono advisory practice and we will definitely try to expand our Firm’s practice in this direction.
Universities Guest lectures, tournaments
The other direction of our mission is to help young lawyers and law school students to develop their professional skills.
We were honored to participate as guest lecturers and external experts offering an outside perspective to Kazakhstan universities from leading legal practitioners. Our Partners Talgat Sariev, Liza Zhumakhmetova and Sofiya Zhylkaidarova conducted a series of guest lectures and participated in working sessions on legal education focused on current challenges for lawyers and trends in legal education, shared their concerns on a balance between academic education and private practice realities.
Working under pressure with strict deadlines, facing challenges and resistance, in other words - being ready for the real life – this is what matters the most to young lawyers.
In general, SIGNUM partners have dedicated more than 30 hours to work with students and Advisory Councils of leading Kazakhstani universities.
SIGNUM is involved in pro bono project to provide its legal support to an educational center on operational (daily) issues that students or employees of educational institutions may face. SIGNUM lawyers reviewed the most common issues usually faced by educational institutions from legal perspective. Unfortunately, today the majority of students and schoolchildren are not aware of their rights, and employees of educational institutions do not always understand what actions and measures need to be taken in certain cases. The mission of SIGNUM is to clarify from legislative point of view what can be done and what cannot be done.
Rule of Law
We are open to new trends and opportunities for improvement and development of the rule of law in Kazakhstan. We welcomed the set-up of AIFC Court and International Arbitration Centre. Since then we closely cooperate with these institutions and consistently support their initiatives.
Signum also actively participates in improvement of rule of law in Kazakhstan through different committees within KazBar. For instance, Talgat Sariev is a member of the Litigation Committee, which includes leading litigation lawyers of major law and consultancy firms as well as independent advisors. In 2018 Talgat took part in a review of the draft administrative procedural code. The review was initiated by the Supreme Court to have an opinion from a practical angle, which we believe will be truly valuable for the adoption of the efficient legal act.
Within KazBar Talgat along with other members is also involved in a trial programme of reforming the judicial system in part of improving interaction with and creating a friendly environment for citizens.
Pro bono Committee is very grateful to all lawyers and staﬀ who took an active role in pro bono representations for the individual commitments of time and energy.