31 March 2007
The draft Pro Bono Declaration for the Americas was introduced to the Peruvian legal community at an international conference in Lima, Peru, on January 31 and February 1, 2007. Mayer Brown Assistant Director of Pro Bono Activities Marcia Maack and associate Georgina Fabian participated in the conference along with a delegation of lawyers from Argentina, Chile, Columbia, and the United States.
The pro bono conference, the first of its kind in Peru, was sponsored by the Vance Center for International Justice Initiatives (http://www.abcny.org/VanceCenter/index.htm
), in conjunction with the Instituto de Democracia y Derechos Humanos de la Pontíficia Universidad Católica del Perú (http://www.pucp.edu.pe/idehpucp
). Its purpose was to introduce the Declaration, a project of the Vance Center, and to create a forum to discuss and promote pro bono work in Peru. The Pro Bono Declaration was developed by a team of lawyers throughout the Americas to help advance the commitment of the profession to provide legal services to the poor and underprivileged in Latin America.
In conjunction with the international delegation and leaders of Peru's legal profession, Marcia spoke at a seminar focused on lawyer's social responsibility, the development and organization of pro bono programs in the United States and Latin America, and the use of pro bono to address unmet legal needs in Peru. Marcia and Georgina also joined the delegation in visits to leading Peruvian law firms to discuss the institutionalization of pro bono work within law firms, and participated in a roundtable discussion with representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to discuss the role of NGOs in developing pro bono programs. In addition, the conference included meetings with law firm managing partners, law school deans, representatives of the Lima Bar Association, and NGO leaders to introduce and discuss the draft Declaration and elicit feedback.
After holding similar country consultations throughout Latin America, the drafting committee recently finalized the Pro Bono Declaration, which the Vance Center will launch in the fall of 2007.