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Sao Paolo Hosts International Pro Bono Legal Seminar

Friday, November 07, 2003

  • Organization: UN Foundation

The Sao Paulo-based Instituto Pro Bono is pleased to announce the International Pro Bono Legal Seminar, a landmark two-day event in Sao Paulo, Brazil from December 4 to 5, 2003. Lawyers and legal professionals from 15 countries in the Americas, Africa and Europe will meet to move forward the rapidly developing pro bono legal culture and to facilitate a global dialogue on these initiatives.

Legal systems around the world, particularly in Latin America and Africa, are overwhelmed by the need to expand access to justice for the poor and disadvantaged. In Argentina, Brazil, Chile and South Africa, dozens of law firms are pioneering pro bono service as one solution. In Brazil, where the expansion of this "legal corporate responsibility" has been spearheaded by the Instituto Pro Bono since 2001, pro bono is a growing social priority for legal firms.

The meeting will bring together about 350 legal professionals, academics and representatives from non-profit organizations to debate and propose rules for emerging pro bono in a global context, discuss and disseminate principles, share best practices and directly visit some of the strong partnerships that have been developed with Brazilian civil society.

Invited speakers include:

• Miguel Reale Jr., Chairman of the Instituto Pro Bono, Brazil
• Marcio Thomaz Bastos, Brazilian Minister of Justice
• Leo Milonas, President, The Association of the Bar of the City of New York, USA
• Joan Vermeulen, Director, The Cyrus Vance Center for International Initiatives, USA
• Martín Bohmer, Dean, University of Palermo Law School, Argentina
• Roger Smiths, Director, Justice, UK
• Andrea Durbach, Director, Public Interest Advocacy Centre, Australia
• Zaza Namoradze, Open Society, Hungary
• Willen DeKlerk, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa

The event is co-sponsored by the Instituto Pro Bono, Conectas Human Rights and Sur - Human Rights University Network, organizations supported by the United Nations Foundation and the Ford Foundation - working in partnership to promote human rights. Other partners include major Sao Paulo law firms, the Getulio Vargas Foundation and the Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice Initiatives.

For more information about the International "Pro Bono" Legal Seminar, you can contact Malak Poppovic, Conectas Board Member, at mpoppovic@unfoundation.org in Sao Paulo or Marcos Fuchs, Director of the Instituto Pro Bono, at marcos@institutoprobono.org.br. In Washington, DC, contact Johanna Mendelson Forman, UN Foundation Senior Program Officer on Peace, Security and Human Rights, at jmendelson-forman@unfoundation.org.

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The Instituto Pro Bono has been promoting social responsibility in the legal sector by facilitating linkages and interaction between legal firms and non-profit organizations committed to the defense of the public interest and fundamental human rights.

Created in 2002, Sur - Human Rights University Network is a network of academics whose mission is to strengthen the voice of universities in the South on human rights and social justice, and to create strong cooperation between academia and the United Nations.

Conectas Human Rights is an international human rights organization that seeks to enhance respect for human rights through dialogue and collaboration leading to the mutual strengthening of civil society organizations in the global South (Africa, Asia and Latin America).

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