06 Nov 2023

2023 Wig & Pen Prize for pro bono legal work awarded to Freshfields’ Rob Colvin

Rob Colvin, Senior Associate at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, has been awarded the 2023 Wig & Pen Prize in recognition of his commitment to pro bono legal work over the last decade.

Awarded jointly by the City of London Law Society and the City of London Solicitors’ Company, the judging panel recognised Rob’s “general commitment to pro bono work – not just hours spent, but time taken to talk to and inspire other lawyers to get involved and to promote the rule of law”.

Rob recently led a team representing Every Child Protected Against Trafficking (ECPAT UK) in a successful judicial review of the housing of lone asylum-seeking children in hotels. In the past two years, over 400 such children have gone missing with many suspected of having been trafficked. The landmark decision secured by the Freshfields team in 2023 confirmed the primacy of the Children Act 1989 in determining the rights of all children in need to support from local authorities without discrimination. 

“Rob’s dedication to the matter was outstanding; he spent over 650 pro bono hours in a nine month period to help to deliver the result”, added the judging panel. Rob is also a committed volunteer advocate at the Asylum Support Tribunal, where he has represented asylum seekers appealing Home Office decisions to refuse shelter and financial assistance pending the outcome of their claims. 

Commenting on the prize award, Rob Colvin said: “I am delighted to be this year's recipient of the Wig & Pen Prize. It is a real testament to the work of the whole Freshfields team representing ECPAT UK, and we have been lucky enough to work with a stellar counsel team. It is a huge privilege to be able to do this work and to be a part of such an impactful pro bono practice”.

The award of the 2023 Wig & Pen Prize comes as the UK’s 22nd annual Pro Bono Week kicks off today, recognising the voluntary contribution made by the legal profession across the UK in giving free legal help to those in need.

For more information, contact George Kyrke-Smith at [email protected].



The City of London Law Society (CLLS) is the professional representative body for solicitors and law firms in the City of London, including all the largest national and international practitioners. Our membership takes in more than 18,000 City-based solicitors based in more than 60 firms.

The City of London Solicitors’ Company is the Livery Company for City solicitors. It is a working Company and all members are required to practise or to have practised as a solicitor within the City of London and Canary Wharf.