Published March 2014
Law firm partners know that pro bono is key to improving access to justice, but developing a strong practice can be a challenge. Every year, Latin Lawyer partners with the Cyrus R Vance Center for International Justice to conduct a survey to measure the progress of this development across the region’s legal markets, share best practices and celebrate the achievements of the practitioners leading the way.
Clearinghouses provide the fuel necessary to keep the pro bono engine running. Often with very small teams of staff, they are responsible for huge advancements in pro bono in countries across the region, but they continue to face an uphill struggle as they fight to raise awareness of the importance of the practice
Latin Lawyer and the Vance Center's pro bono survey measured key indicators of institutionalisation and tracks the amount and type of pro bono work being done. Here we draw out some of the main conclusions
A tour of some of the larger legal communities from which we received a healthy number of responses to our survey
Latin Lawyer and the Vance Center's pro bono survey unveiled a remarkable range of projects undertaken by Latin American law firms on a pro bono basis; from bringing about legislative reform to helping children with serious diseases, lawyers are bringing access to justice to a tremendous number of poor and marginalised people in the region. Here, we celebrate their stories and consider the different types of pro bono projects available and the impact they have on society
Here we list 55 “Leading Lights” from our survey respondents, celebrating law firms whose efforts towards pro bono during 2013 stood out. The list consists of firms that we feel deserve to be put in the spotlight thanks to their contribution to the development of a pro bono culture in Latin America.
Having been the passion of a dedicated, growing group for some time, the practice of pro bono appears to be entering the mainstream of Latin America’s legal profession as stories of success find their way into everyday conversation. “Those of us who are active can’t go anywhere where people are not eager, even in the context of a business meeting, to tell us what advancement their firms are making in pro bono,” says Antonia Stolper, vice chair of the Cyrus R Vance Center for International Justice Committee and partner at Shearman & Sterling LLP. “There is an incredibly high level of consciousness about the issue and the impact law firms can bring to access to justice issues are at front and centre for leading players in these markets. That’s a fantastic development and clear sign that the efforts of those trying to scale up and institutionalise pro bono are paying off.”