At Latin Lawyer one of the subjects closest to our hearts and which we take most pleasure in reporting on is pro bono. We have surveyed law firms’ institutionalisation of pro bono practices for the past 11 years and take heart from the results of the 2018 survey (which we conducted with The Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice).
We found that more and more firms are assembling the necessary ingredients to be able to deliver pro bono. Their efforts are part of a broader pro bono environment that encompasses the growing clearing house network in Latin America. The Pro Bono Declaration of the Americas celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2018, making this issue a good place to reflect on its contribution to securing access to justice to those without the funds to pay for it.
This issue also addresses one of the biggest talking points in Latin America in recent years: corruption. At the epicentre of the graft probe centred on Brazil’s Petrobras was the city of Rio de Janeiro, which was hammered by plummeting oil prices at around the same period. With Rio now appearing to turn a corner, its legal community reveal how they weathered the storm.
Colombia is facing its own battle against graft. At a roundtable in Bogotá last year we discovered that top of law firm leaders’ wish lists is greater enforcement of the legislation that currently exists to tackle such crimes. Meanwhile, the effect of Argentina’s “notebooks” scandal on deal flow is still far from certain.
Also in this issue, we speak to Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP’s David Williams, who was the recipient of Latin Lawyer’s International Lawyer of the Year Award in 2018, in acknowledgement of his lifelong legal career in the region.
“O Rio de Janeiro continua lindo (Rio de Janeiro keeps its beauty)” are the words to Gilberto Gil’s immortal samba, but after years of economic decline, skyrocketing violence and corruption scandals, has the appeal of Brazil’s cidade maravilhosa remained intact?
The findings from the 2018 Latin Lawyer – Vance Center pro bono survey are testament to the great strides Latin America has made to adopt pro bono into its legal culture. Now in its 11th year, our survey evidences that pro bono is increasingly finding a place within Latin American firms’ day-to-day service offer.
From the determined strength of pro bono coordinators to the collaborative efforts of law firms (played out increasingly across borders), the results of our annual pro bono survey demonstrate how pro bono is weaved into the fabric of Latin America’s legal market. The work being done around the region showcases the outstanding achievements of lawyers and clearing houses working together. Now, the challenge is to engage even more lawyers in the fight to bring access to justice to all.
Partner participation in pro bono is still low, despite clearing houses’ best efforts to get the senior level of law firms involved. While firms can still make a big contribution to pro bono without partner involvement, the fact remains the partnership holds the power to effect institutional change necessary to increase the volume of work done.
It has been a decade since the launch of the Pro Bono Declaration of the Americas, a call to action to expand pro bono across Latin America. We ask lawyers who wrote the declaration about its influence on the evolution of pro bono in the region and what’s needed for the next 10 years.
As news of brown envelopes stuffed with cash and cyanide poisoning grab headlines in Colombia, lawyers at a roundtable Latin Lawyer held in Bogotá discuss how the country’s war on corruption is changing the legal landscape.
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP’s David Williams built his legal career in Latin America off the back of early exposure to the region, managing to successfully navigate his firm’s Latin American practice through a constantly changing political and economic environment. He is 2018’s recipient of Latin Lawyer’s International Lawyer of the Year Award.
In early 2018, Óscar Centeno, a driver for an ex-official in Argentina’s ministry of public planning, turned over a box of handwritten notebooks to newspaper La Nación. In doing so, he sparked Argentina’s largest ever investigation into graft.
Law firms that stand out for the pro bono work done by their lawyers and for their efforts to build a lasting pro bono infrastructure, both internally and in their legal market.