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The Vance Center advances global justice by engaging lawyers across borders to support civil society and an ethically active legal profession.

The Vance Center is a unique collaboration of international lawyers catalyzing public interest innovation.  A non-profit program of the New York City Bar Association, we bring together leading law firms and other partners worldwide to pioneer international justice initiatives and provide pro bono legal representation to social justice NGOs.


The Vance Center advises clients with missions and projects in four areas:

  • human rights and access to justice
  • environment
  • free expression, media and information
  • health and development


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

  • Sociedad Peruana de Derecho Ambiental
  • U.S. International Council on Disabilities
  • The Blacksmith Institute
  • 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


In addition, our Program on Strengthening the Legal Profession engages law firms, bar associations, law schools, and pro bono clearinghouses with innovative initiatives, including Women in the Profession, South African Legal Fellows, and the Pro Bono Initiative for the Americas.

The Vance Center manages the Pro Bono Network of the Americas, along with Fundación Pro Bono Chile, and supports the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, as well as other international human rights agencies.  Member of the International Coalition on the Responsibility to Protect, the International Legal Assistance Consortium, and the Coalition for an Effective African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, we have consultative status at the United Nations Economic and Social Council.

The Vance Center Committee, composed of leading lawyers from international law firms and the corporate and public sectors in New York City, provides strategic direction, core financial support, and programmatic leadership.  Because law firms contribute their time and expertise, the total value of the Vance Center’s programs to our clients is five times our budget.

We proudly take our name from Cyrus R. Vance -- former U.S. Secretary of State, New York City Bar Association President, and prominent private lawyer – who exemplified ironclad commitment to fundamental rights through collaborative problem solving.