THE PRO BONO NETWORK OF THE AMERICAS was born in 2011 as an informal collaborative mechanism between lawyers, NGOs, pro bono initiatives and other actors in the pro bono field across the Americas to strengthen access to justice promote respect for human rights and promote the rule of law and democracy in the Americas. It has now become the main institutional home of the primary pro bono clearinghouses in the Americas, representing partnership among them. Today, the Network is comprised of more than 18 organizations, representing 13 countries, and we will continue to grow. It is coordinated and co-managed by the Vance Center and Fundación Pro Bono Chile, and also has an Executive Committee, which meets on a monthly basis to discuss common concerns and exchange best practices on pro bono practice. For instance, in 2016, we:
- Formalized the Network’s status and procedures
- Created an intake form for potential new members and strategic allies
- Developed pro bono referral form to conduct international pro bono projects among the Network members
- Supported pro bono advocacy efforts in countries such as Venezuela and Paraguay
- Established committees on the exchange of best practices, effective communications and the measurement of pro bono work
- Drafted the first annual report of the Network, which you can access here.
This year’s main focus has been the organization of the Pro Bono Network Forum in Mexico (which will be held on March 2018), which the Network Executive Committee is organizing in conjunction with the three Mexican clearinghouse. This forum is meant to be the first of a series of annual Latin American conferences on pro bono.
For more information on the Network, you can visit its website here.
Along with several partners in Latin America, the Vance Center launched a campaign called the Pro Bono Declaration of the Americas. This short statement commits signatory law firms and other legal organizations to undertake annually an average of at least 20 hours of pro bono work for each attorney working there. Today, the declaration has more than 530 signatories,from 21 countries representing more than 10,000 lawyers, committing to least 200,000 hours of pro bono each year.PBDA Statement