NautaDutilh received the Resilience Award at the Gouden Zandlopers, the Netherlands’ most prestigious legal awards. This one-off award recognises an innovative idea, product or service that demonstrates the resilience shown by the legal sector in the face of the present uncertainty, helping clients see round corners in a new normal. Corporate litigation lawyer Marieke Faber was nominated for her role as the driving force behind NautaDutilh’s pro bono community outreach initiative to help entrepreneurs and self-employed individuals ("ZZP'ers") navigate some of the legal challenges that arose in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.
The jury of the Gouden Zandlopers called NautaDutilh's initiative "very sympathetic" and "of great added value for these entrepreneurs". " NautaDutilh shows that it has the resilience to develop something new and extra in the short term".
"During the first hectic weeks of the COVID-19 outbreak, everyone was trying to figure out how to deal with this new and unknown reality. We had to learn how to combine home schooling with working from home and caring for others. The fact that, despite these hurdles, our colleagues gave their most scarce resource, namely their time, makes me very proud. That's why I think Marieke deserved to win this award, which recognises everyone who contributed to the project", says Managing Partner Petra Zijp.
About the community outreach initiative
On 2 April, NautaDutilh launched a pro bono initiative to provide easily accessible legal assistance to small business owners and self-employed persons (who are not typical clients for the firm) with questions related to COVID-19. A team of 38 lawyers from all Benelux offices offered free legal advice on COVID-19-related questions, such as state aid and contractual obligations. Entrepreneurs and self-employed persons could submit questions easily and quickly using the online form on our website and were contacted by a lawyer as soon as possible - in any case no later than the next business day - to answer questions, discuss options or at least point the entrepreneur in the right direction.
About the award
The Resilience Award is a one-off ‘Gouden Zandloper’, the most prestigious legal awards in the Netherlands. It recognises new initiatives law firms have taken to deal with the COVID-19 crisis and its consequences and is conferred on the company, law firm, educational institution or person that has demonstrated particular resilience in these uncertain times and preparedness for the new reality.
Read the interview with Marieke Faber about the Community Outreach initiative in Advocatie Magazine (in Dutch).