Read the IBA Pro Bono Committee Newsletter, November 2016
From the files Friday
A regular feature highlighting a roundup of topical pro bono content. In view of International Women’s Day in March, IBA Law Student Committee member Emily Wright reflects on how pro bono initiatives can contribute to the advancement of women’s equality.
International Women’s Day is an increasingly significant annual event around the globe and this year large marches took place in various cities as women’s rights issues hit the headlines.
Lawyers around the world defend and promote the rights of women every day and prominent women lawyers have promoted the pro bono cause. In 2008, the Mexican first lady, a lawyer who worked at corporate firms in Mexico City before becoming a politician, launched the Pro Bono Declaration of the Americas.
In remarks reported in Latin Lawyer, she noted the profession is “jointly and severally liable” for the “common duty” which is pro bono work and said “I am positive these efforts will make us all better human beings”. She also added a more personal plea to signatories to share the pro bono commitment between genders: “Women are more prone to accept pro bono work than men,” she noted, wondering why law firms could not reorganize remuneration structures to counter this. “We need to share the work between men and women – this is my special request.”
The IBA has launched a global survey to investigate reasons for women lawyers leaving law firms and women continue to face challenges within the legal profession and in the campaign for gender equality. As one advocate for pro bono highlights in an American Bar Association Women’s Advocate feature, pro bono work provides lawyers opportunities to give back to the community as well as experience, confidence, connections, and visibility both inside and outside their firms. International Women’s Day is an important moment to reflect on the role of law and pro bono in bringing about gender fairness.
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.
For more on IBA pro bono initiatives:
Please see the IBA Pro Bono Declaration.
Please see the IBA website.
Please see the International Rule of Law Directory website.