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IBA International Pro Bono

Read the IBA Pro Bono Committee Newsletter, May 2017


Past IBA Pro Bono Committee Newsletters - November 2016May 2016September 2015; May 2015October 2014

From the files Friday 

A regular feature highlighting a roundup of topical pro bono content. In view of the recent World Refugee Day, IBA Law Student Committee member Emily Wright reflects on how pro bono initiatives have helped tackle refugee and broader immigration issues.

Refugee rights and migration issues have seldom been out the headlines over the past few years and the reasons why people may seek refuge continues to expand. For instance, the IBA has reflected on the international legal gaps for climate refugees or those fleeing the effects of climate change.

The IBA International Pro Bono site features examples of various migration stories and programming and the May 2017 issue of the IBA Pro Bono Committee newsletter contains two articles on pro bono initiatives resulting from recent immigration policy changes in the United States. In one 2008 article, the New York Times reported on the “rare occurrence” of the United States granting refugee status to a Senegalese foreign national facing persecution based on sexual orientation. Commenting on his new country, he stated: “there’s security, there’s independence, there’s peace”.

Since 2008, many more people continue to flee as their home country slides away from security, independence and peace. Correspondingly, the number of refugees has  risen to 22.5 million people in 2017. As the number of refugees fleeing to Europe spiked in March 2016, the IBA spoke to those working with refugees on the Greek island of Lesvos about the situation of those without homes, stability or access to legal advice to assert their rights.


Training and encouraging lawyers to engage in pro bono work for refugee and immigration issues means tackling a wide-range of matters, including assisting asylum applicants in detention centres. As the New York Law School’s Safe Passage Immigration Project highlights, this also means understanding the specific cultural issues underpinning each client’s claim.

Latest Articles:

Refugee crisis accounts for huge spike in pro bono legal activity

The emergence of a highly active pro bono sector is among the most notable – and edifying – developments in legal practice over the last two decades. Increasing numbers of commercial lawyers, it appears, are seeking ways to apply their skills to the provision of life-changing support for those most in need. Within the last year, the international refugee crisis has provided significant additional impetus for pro bono work.

Click here for the full article

IBA Pro Bono Committee Chair featured in Who's Who Legal's Article, 'Pro Bono - The Inside Story'.

On 2 December 2013, New York Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman announced that out-of-state lawyers employed as in-house counsel in New York would be able to provide pro bono legal services. This follows similar moves in Illinois, Virginia and Colorado. According to Lippman, only 20 per cent of the civil legal needs of New York's low-income residents were met in 2012 and the state hopes this development will help fill the gap.

Corporate pro bono is on the rise throughout the world and the timing could not be better - the difficult economic climate and legal aid cuts have led to a dramatically increased demand for free legal services from underprivileged sections of society. Recent developments throughout the world have helped to break down some of the barriers formerly hindering in-house counsel's involvement and have unleashed a section of the legal profession which was previously dormant. In this special feature, Who's Who Legal delves into the corporate world to find out the inside story of pro bono.

Click here for the full article.


Pro Bono and legal aid attorney resources - Pro Bono Net