Mayer Brown and client Caterpillar Inc. were named 2016 Pro Bono Innovators of the Year in Legaltech News and The Recorder’s joint Innovation Awards for their work on the Forced Marriage Project for The Tahirih Justice Center, a non-profit dedicated to protecting immigrant women and girls from gender-based violence.

In Asia, Europe and the Americas, Mayer Brown and Caterpillar lawyers researched laws in 25 countries related to marriage, dissolution of marriage and domestic violence. They developed a series of reports profiling human rights conditions, laws and customs in these countries. Tahirih used the research to launch, a website with an interactive map providing information on each country, designed to help public service organizations and lawyers who may be contacted by victims. The website also provides emergency contact information to potential victims. Since its launch in February 2015, the website has received over 6,720 visitors and 15,430 views.

"We formed teams consisting of two to three lawyers from each organization to cover the research for each of the 25 countries, using a template developed by Mayer Brown, Caterpillar, and Tahirih to provide uniformity to the research being conducted," Marcia Tavares Maack, Mayer Brown’s Director of Pro Bono Activities, told Legaltech News. "The whole effort comprised over 80 attorneys and took over 3,500 hours."

Caterpillar’s Deputy General Counsel Mike Sposato said the research is already having a life-saving impact. "The Forced Marriage Overseas Map is a pragmatic, groundbreaking approach that puts practical tools directly in the hands of those who most need them—when they most need them," he told the publication. "It directly empowers those most affected and allows more people to join together in fighting this global human rights issue."