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The Vance Center considers civil society -- the formal and informal groups that people freely create to share views, pursue causes, express culture --to be a key player in democratic transition and lawyers to be key players in civil society. It is lawyers who use and develop the laws and the institutions of government, which define and secure civil rights.

The rule of law is a crucial ingredient to vibrant civil society, enabling people to rely on the legal system and understand what their governments do. Equal access to justice demonstrates and advances fairness and promotes confidence in the law and legal institutions.

The Vance Center helps clients with legal matters in two thematic areas:

Human Rights and Access to Justice

The Human Rights and Access to Justice Program protects individuals from discrimination, violence, injustice, and corruption, as well as supports international human rights bodies committed to such protection.


The Environment Program promotes collaboration to address environmental challenges through advocacy, research, innovative solutions, and conscientious stewardship of natural resources.

Good Governance 

The Good Governance Program pursues openness and honesty in government, supporting civil society and independent journalism to hold officials and institutions accountable.

Vance Center clients include large and small social justice NGOs, such as:

U.S. International Council on Disabilities

O Instituto de Estudos da Religião

The African Media Initiative

The Africa Freedom of Information Centre

Equipo Latinoamericano de Justicia y Género

Fundación Construir

Center for Justice and Accountability

International Commission of Jurists - Kenya