Vance Center Releases Annual Appeal

December 2020



   December 15, 2020

Dear Friend,

What a year it has been!  As the pandemic hit, the Vance Center jumped in and focused on the human rights impact of the COVID-19 response across the world and pivoted to ensure that our essential work continued despite the forced physical distancing of the pandemic. Far from deterred, we dug in and continued to support clients and partners in access to justice, environment, diversity, and legal accountability.

This year has highlighted the strength of our unique approach collaborating with law firms, bar associations, law schools, and civil society organizations as partners and clients around the world on the most pressing and significant legal challenges.

In 2020, we provided direct pro bono support to 64 clients working with 270 law firms and over 425 lawyers in providing pro bono legal services. These projects provided life changing relief to some individual clients and engaged in some of the most pressing global challenges.

For those who don’t know, the Vance Center is a nonprofit program, providing pro bono legal representation to human rights, environmental, and journalism organizations, and strengthening the legal profession’s diversity and ethics, worldwide. 

COVID-19 Response

Our Lawyers Council for Civil and Economic Rights in the Americas published a widely-heralded report on how the response heightened corruption risk in Latin America.

Our Human Rights Program assessed and issued recommendations on specific threats to women in prison from pandemic control.

Our Africa Program surveyed the human rights impact from restrictions on courts, legislatures, and civil society that 9 African governments imposed on public health grounds.

Our Women in the Profession program analyzed how government and civil society responded to increased domestic violence in 19 Latin American countries.

The Pro Bono Network of the Americas held frequent virtual exchanges on law firm and civil society measures to support vulnerable people amidst the pandemic.

Pushing Forward

Our Human Rights Program studied incarceration of women in Sierra Leone and began training officials there, while shepherding the New York City Bar Association’s pioneering policy on Business and Human Rights.

Our Environment Program completed a global review of the right to a healthy environment and started studying the legal rights of rivers and other forms of nature.

We launched TotalLaw Prep and selected eight Afro-Descendent and Indigenous lawyers in Latin America for mentorship to enter LLM programs and the international legal profession; and our Women in the Profession Program led its 19 Latin American chapters in a pro bono project on economic violence against women.

Our Africa and Pro Bono Promotion Programs engaged with law firms in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Nigeria on institutionalizing pro bono practice.

Keep Families Together expanded to include law firms in India, Guyana, South Africa, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, alongside many in Latin America, in providing pro bono legal support bridging the country of origin and the United States, thereby reinforcing U.S. immigration lawyers’ efforts to reunite separated families.


You made these achievements possible with your past support.  Our ongoing efforts depend on you in the same way.  We are grateful for your partnership.




Alexander Papachristou
Executive Director

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