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IBA International Pro Bono

IBA Pro Bono Award 2016 Winner is Odette Geldenhuys.

List of shortlisted nominees.

Latest Articles:

Read the IBA Pro Bono Committee Newsletter, November 2016



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

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.

IBA Boston Conference: Raising the Bar - the Essential Role of Bar Associations in the Promotion of Pro Bono

The need for pro bono services across the globe has never been greater. At the same time, there is growing awareness among members of the profession of, and a desire to play their part in addressing, this need. In many jurisdictions, however, there is no developed culture of pro bono provision and no experience of best practice to provide essential guidance to those wishing to become involved.

This IBA Annual Conference session sought to explain the critical role that Bar Associations and Law Societies have to play in developing the necessary supporting infrastructure to facilitate and nurture a sustainable pro bono culture, while ensuring pro bono provision is conducted to acceptable standards. The session addressed such topics as the extent to which pro bono services can properly be utilised to supplement shortcomings in legal aid provision; the pros and cons of mandatory pro bono participation and how to sanction non-performance; and, how to put in place clearing house systems to ensure the need is efficiently met.

Click here to view the video for this session.

Pro bono lawyers partner with NGOs to promote international development

Delegates at the IBA Dublin conference 2012 had the chance to attend the PPID session on Global Poverty. The final speaker on the panel was Yasmin Batliwala, Chief Executive of the charity Advocates for International Development.
A4ID is a global charity based in London. It aims to alleviate poverty and achieve the Millennium Goals. To do this, the charity brings together it's development partners - ie Non-governmental organisations; civil society organisations; social enterprises; the UN; and Governments in the developing world - and their legal partners - a network of over 40,000 pro bono lawyers around the world.

To read the full article click here

Lawyers Against Poverty - Housing and Human Rights

As part of the PPID showcase session at the IBA 2012 Annual Conference in Dublin, Sister Stanislaus Kennedy, known as Sister Stan, spoke about poverty, housing and what lawyers can do to help alleviate the impact of homelessness.
In 1985, Sister Stan founded the charity Focus Ireland in response to the needs of a group of homeless women with whom she had been working. Based on the belief that everyone has a right to a home, Focus Ireland works to prevent people becoming, remaining or returning to homelessness.

To read the full article click here

Sister Stan invites IBA members to join the campaign to protect the legal rights of homeless people and to share their own experiences of campaigning for the homeless in other jurisdictions.

If you are interested in getting involved please email the IBA at and they will help put you in touch with Focus Ireland.

IBA Dublin Conference PPID Showcase Session - Lawyers Against Poverty

Session highlighted as part of the President's focus for the IBA Task Force on 'Challenges for the Legal Profession post Global Financial Crisis'.

Poverty lies at the root of the world's worst problems - hunger, conflict, poor health, low life expectancy, deprivation of justice and more. Almost half the individuals in the world live every day on less than the price of a cup of coffee. As lawyers, we champion access to justice, the protection of human rights and the rule of law. But, without tackling poverty, we're often attempting to address symptoms and not the root cause. Why then, as lawyers, do we spend so little time thinking about and acting to alleviate poverty? Why have we not been more visible at the forefront of the battle against poverty? What do we need to do to remedy this?

Click here to view the video for this session. The first part of this video includes the Pro Bono Award acceptance and speech, from 1:17:45 to the end of the clip.

Click here to view Professor Thomas Pogge's presentation for this session.

Pro bono, international development and the IBA 2012 conference

The IBA's Public and Professional Interest Division's showcase at the 2012 annual conference focused on poverty - both the causes and what we, as lawyers, can do about it.

There is no one area of law that provides the mechanism for alleviating poverty. Instead, we'll be looking at a variety of issues from the exploitation of natural resources and the expropriation of land to anti-corruption law and tax havens - a disparate mix that could arguably be grouped together under the umbrella of international development law. So, what is international development law and how can practitioners get involved?

To read the full article click here

Pro Bono and Access to Justice session, Dubai 2011 - You know it makes sense: the role of pro bono in a well-managed law firm

Historically, pro bono was a priority issue for very few law firm managers. Individual lawyers were largely left to identify and pursue their own pro bono involvement. Most firms provided little more than tacit support and then subject always to that involvement not getting in the way of chargeable work.

Recent years, however, have seen a major change in outlook from many firms, with far more attention being given to the role pro bono has to play in the successful modern firm. This has, in no small part, been driven by client demands, often, in pursuance of their own corporate social responsibility agendas. But enlightened managers, as well as recognising the need to meet client expectations, have also begun to appreciate the other, substantial benefits that can accrue from the development of a vibrant pro bono ethos and practice within their firms.

Part 1: Click here to view part 1 of this session.

Part 2: Click here to view part 2 of this session.

Pro Bono and Access to Justice session, Dubai 2011 - Pearls and Swords: developing clinical law and pro bono programmes in the Middle East and Gulf regions

During the 19th century some of the traditional Middle East and Gulf countries were famous for their pearl-diving and sword-making. In modern developmental states pearls of wisdom are needed to advance social justice for all, and the rule of law replaces rule by the sword. Law schools and legal practitioners can play a crucial role in this respect by engaging in pro bono activities.
In recent years, in the Middle East and Gulf region, there have been a number of initiatives by law schools and bar associations to promote pro bono work. The session began with a panel discussion by law teachers and lawyers involved in some of these initiatives. It concluded with an interactive exercise in which academic and practising lawyers from the region, and lawyers from other jurisdictions, shared their experiences and encouraged further initiatives in the region.

Part 1: Click here to view part 1 of this session.

Part 2: Click here to view part 2 of this session.

Part 3: Click here to view part 3 of this session.

This site's series on best practices in academic clinics continues with its latest article:

Since 2006, the Pro Bono Collaborative (PBC) at Roger Williams University School of Law has provided free legal assistance to thousands of low-income individuals and families. Unlike referral programs, in which one attorney is matched with one client on an urgent basis, the PBC matches law firms and law students with community organizations to provide pro bono legal assistance in a specific area of law that affects a large number of the organizations' clients and fits within the expertise and/or interests of the law firms' attorneys. Read more>>

From IBA Global Insight:

Pro bono in Asia: striking a balance between commercial interests and political passions


Pro Bono and legal aid attorney resources - Pro Bono Net