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Claire Donse

International Head of Pro Bono

Claire Donse leads the firm's pro bono practice, through which DLA Piper provides more than 220,000 hours of free legal services annually. She is the co-director of New Perimeter, DLA Piper's non-profit affiliate, oversees the firm’s Global Scholarships Programme, and is responsible for the development and leadership of our partnership with UNHCR. 

Claire’s practice is focused in the areas of rule of law, international development and climate and biodiversity. Claire works with governments, academic institutions, commercial and pro bono clients to establish high impact, cross-sector projects that support access to justice and create social, economic and environmental value around the globe. Claire also supports commercial clients in the establishment of their pro bono practice and advises on reputational issues.  

Claire has worked in law firms in Australia, China, France, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Professional QualificationsAvocat admitted to the Paris BarSolicitor of the High Court of AustraliaSolicitor of the Supreme Court of New South Wales


Claire’s practice includes assisting post conflict and least developed States. She has represented countries in both the UNFCCC and the Convention on Biological Diversity negotiations. She has advised the Government of Timor-Leste on a major economic development project, supported the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in Bangladesh by assisting with legislative reform and worked with a range of governments to assist with environmental and biodiversity legislation and economic development.  

In the area of access to justice, she has developed projects to release children in pre-trial detention from prisons in Africa, advised on the legal aspects of an app to collect verifiable evidence of atrocities, and supported UNICEF to ensure children are included in the transitional justice programme in The Gambia. She has also been involved with impact litigation on disability and gender rights in Australia. 

Claire has developed and lead teaching courses for law students and practising lawyers in Brazil, Colombia, Laos, Malawi, Myanmar, South Africa, Tanzania, Thailand, Viet Nam and Zambia.

  • English
  • French
  • German


    • Pro Bono Initiative Of The Year, The Lawyer Awards, 2023
    • British Legal Awards CSR Initiative of the Year, 2022
    • Social Award at the IJ Global Awards, 2022
    • Pro Bono Initiative of the Year at The Lawyer Awards, 2022
    • Global Partnership Award, at the PILNet Awards, 2022
    • Local Impact Award at the PILNet Awards, 2022

    Insight Overview

    As a leading pro bono lawyer, Claire speaks regularly and provides seminars on pro bono and access to justice. She has spoken at the PILnet European Pro Bono Forum, the South East Asia Pro Bono Conference and the Pro Bono Institute Conference in Washington DC, as well as at forums in Australia and South America. 


    • Developed and taught modules for law graduates in Zambia and Tanzania.
    • Designed and taught modules for LLM students on special economic zones as a tool for attracting foreign direct investment in Africa.
    • Delivered seminars on access to justice in Brazil.
    • Delivered seminars on pro bono in Mexico.
    • Developed and delivered continuing legal education modules on ethics, access to justice and corporate governance for women lawyers in Nepal.
    • Designed and delivered seminars on legal ethics and pro bono for law students in Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia and Laos. 
    • Developed and delivered continuing legal education modules for lawyers in Malawi on international trade and development, foreign investment and corporate governance. 
    • Designed and delivered workshops on best practice in pro bono in Turkey.

    Media Mentions

    Memberships And Affiliations

    • Barreau de Paris
    • Law Society of New South Wales
    • Association of Pro Bono Counsel
    • International Bar Association