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Welcome to the Vance Center eNotes, where you can read about our organization's latest news and developments.

March 2013

Vance Center Convenes Women in the Profession Conference in Peru


The Vance Center held its fifth conference on Women in the Legal Profession in Latin America in Lima, Peru on March 12, 2013. More than 100 attorneys, male and female, from Peruvian law firms, corporations and the public sector attended. The Vance Center's partners in organizing the conference were the University of the Pacific, the Latin American Regional Forum of the International Bar Association, and a team of Peruvian lawyers. 


Through its Women in the Profession Program the Vance Center seeks to strengthen the role of women in the legal profession in Latin America including playing a greater role in meeting the legal needs of poor, disadvantaged, and marginalized members of their communities. As part of this program, the Vance Center, in collaboration with local partners, has organized previous Women in the Profession conferences in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Colombia, at which lawyers from across the Americas have shared ideas about ways of achieving these goals.

At the conference Professors Cecilia O'Neill and Liuba Kogan of the University presented the results of its survey on attitudes toward Peruvian women lawyers and the challenges they face. A panel, composed of Dora Avendaño of Duke Energy Co. in Peru, Todd Crider, partner of Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett in the U.S. and the vice chair of the Vance Center Committee, Elisabeth Eljuri of Norton Rose in Venezuela, Patricia Menéndez-Cambó of Greenberg Traurig in the U.S., Esther Nunes of Pinheiro Neto Advogados in Brazil, and Sabrena Silver, partner of Linklaters in the U.S. and the Vance Center Committee, shared ideas about the hiring, retention, advancement, and promotion of women lawyers. The members of another panel, José Balta of Rodrigo, Elías & Medrano in Peru, Cecilia Mairal of Marval, O'Farrell & Mairal in Argentina, Patricia Núñez of Núñez Muñoz & Cía. Ltda. in Chile, Jackie Saettone of Stromboli S.R.L. in Peru, and Antonia Stolper of Shearman & Sterling in the U.S. and the vice chair of the Vance Center Committee, discussed ways of building an ethic and practice of global engagement among women lawyers on behalf of vulnerable, disadvantaged individuals, especially women. Taisa Markus, partner of Paul Hastings in the U.S. and member of the Vance Center Committee, moderated the first panel and María del Carmen Tovar of Estudio Echecopar in Peru moderated the second panel. Delia Revoredo, former magistrate of the Constitutional Tribunal of Peru, delivered a keynote address. Elizabeth Millard of the Vance Center, María Teresa Quiñones of Rodrigo, Elias & Medrano Abogados in Peru, María Eugenia Yabar of Estudio Olaechea in Peru, and Carolina Zang of the International Bar Association Latin American Regional Forum also made remarks. After the conference, participants and audience members attended a reception hosted by three Peruvian law firms, Estudio Echecopar, Estudio Olaechea and Rodrigo, Elias & Medrano.


The Vance Center thanks all of its partners who helped planned the conference, including not only the participants named above but also Agnes Arbaiza of Linklaters, Carrie Cohen of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, Carmen Corrales of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, and Ildiko Egry, Vance Center intern.


Overbrook Foundation Awards Environmental Grant to Vance Center


The Vance Center is pleased to announce that the Overbrook Foundation has given a $40,000 grant to the Environmental Sustainability Program. The Overbrook Foundation is a progressive family foundation that supports organizations advancing human rights and conserving the natural environment. The Overbrook Foundation's grant will provide valuable support for the Vance Center's environmental work throughout Latin America, including land and natural resource conservation in Mexico and Chile; implementation of Mexico's recent climate change law; toxic waste remediation in Peru, Brazil, Mexico, and other Latin American countries; and coral reef protection in Mexico, Brazil, Ecuador and other South and Central American countries. As the Program approaches its first anniversary, the Overbrook grant will enable the Vance Center to bolster its environmental initiatives and expand into further large-scale, multi-jurisdictional pro bono collaboration with NGOs.


Vance Center Joins Global Alliance on Health and Pollution


The Global Alliance on Health and Pollution has invited the Vance Center to become a member. A collaborative body, GAHP envisions a world safe from toxic pollution. It helps low-and middle-income countries to clean up legacy toxic hotspots, prevent re-contamination and guard against future pollution. Key stakeholders who have taken concrete action, shown leadership and/or are interested in resolving the issues of toxic pollution are invited to participate in the GAHP.


As a GAHP member, the Vance Center will contribute its expertise and collaborate with fellow GAHP Members in advancing GAHP's mission. Executive Director Alexander Papachristou will participate on GAHP's Subcommittee on Communications to develop strategy and recommendations for raising international and national awareness about GAHP.


GAHP's invitation resulted from the Vance Center's ongoing work with the Blacksmith Institute, a GAHP founder. Other members include the Asian Development Bank, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, the European Commission, the World Bank, the United Nations Environment Program and Industrial Development Organization, and the Ministry of Environment of each of Indonesia, Mexico, Senegal, and Peru.


New Law Firms Sign on to Pro Bono Declaration for the Americas


The Latin American pro bono movement continues to grow. Over the past six months, law firms, sole practitioners and other organizations representing approximately 290 lawyers in Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Panama have signed onto the Pro Bono Declaration for the Americas and committed themselves to pro bono service. The new signatories include:


Estudio Willa Abogados y Consultores Tributarios (Argentina)

Bufete Aguirre Soc. Civ. (Bolivia) 

Estudio Jurídico Gerke Sociedad Civil (Bolivia)  

Estudio Moreno Baldivieso Abogados Sociedad Civil (Bolivia)

Guevara & Gutiérrez S.C. (Bolivia)

Ipina Nagel & Monroy Abogados (Bolivia)  

Lima & Asociados Sociedad Civil (Bolivia)  

Quintanilla, Soria & Nishizawa Sociedad Civil (Bolivia)  

Central Law Díaz-Durán & Asociados (Guatemala)  

Central Law Rusconi, Medina & Asociados (El Salvador) 

Central Law Molina & Asociados (Nicaragua)  

Central Law Benedetti & Benedetti (Panama)

Central Law DMK Abogados (Dominican Republic)  

Fourteen Colombian law firms, sole practitioners and other organizations signed the Declaration in the last few months and became part of the already extensive list of Colombian signatories. These new PBDA members are:  

Bermúdez & Ocampo Abogados S.A.S

Castro Leiva Rendón Críales Abogados S.A.S.  

Correa Merino & Co. S.A.S  

Gases de Occidente S.A E.S.P.

Dr. Joaquín Vélez Navarro

Dr. José Rodrigo Vargas del Campo

Dra. Silvana Fortich Pérez

Luna de Aliaga Abogados & Asociados S.A.S

Macías, Gómez & Asociados Abogados S.A.S.

Muñoz Tamayo & Asociados Abogados S.A.

Prí­as Cadavid Abogados S.A.S.

Promigas S.A. E.S.P

Sampedro & Torres Asesores Legales

Surtigas S.A. E.S.P.


For a complete list of signatories of the Pro Bono Declaration of the Americas, please click here.


The Vance Center Welcomes New Committee Member


Sabrena Silver is a finance partner at Linklaters LLP in the New York office and has been working on complex cross-border financing transactions for many years. Ms. Silver speaks English and Spanish and has worked on matters involving Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, and Venezuela.


Ms. Silver also leads the community investment program of Linklaters LLP's New York office, which includes the firm's pro bono program, and has personally represented B Lab and Sistema B in promoting benefit corporations and private enterprise as an engine for social change in the United States, Europe, and Latin America. Ms. Silver recently participated in the Vance Center's Women in the Legal Profession in Peru conference and spoke on a panel discussion addressing the need for transparency in the hiring and promotion process at law firms.


SALFP Alumni Named Partner at Major South African Law Firms


Two alumni of the Vance Center's South African Legal Fellows Program (SALFP) recently became partners at their law firms in South Africa. Thabang Masingi, who was at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP in 2010-2011, was named partner at Webber Wentzel.  Lindani Mthembu, who worked at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP in 2009-2010, was named partner at Bowman Gilfillan. The Vance Center is currently recruiting South African lawyers of color to be Vance Fellows in 2013-14.