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Vance Center and Fundación Pro Bono Chile Announce Hemispheric Meeting in Washington, DC on Pro Bono and Access to Justice in the Inter-American Human Rights System.

 

The Vance Center has an active network of law firms throughout the Americas committed to pro bono service – starting with the 20 firms based in New York City represented on the Vance Center Committee. We spearheaded the Pro Bono Declaration of the Americas, to which more than 500 firms with more than 4,000 lawyers are signatories, representing a bank of 600,000+ pro bono hours. Our network also includes a dozen pro bono clearinghouses in Latin America, known as the Red Pro Bono Internacional, which collaborate regularly with the Vance Center in recruiting U.S. and Latin American law firms to take on bi- and multi-lateral pro bono matters.

The Vance Center and Fundación Pro Bono Chile are co-hosting a program in Washington, D.C. in November to train lawyers from the United States and Latin America to represent indigent clients before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (the “Commission”). The event will introduce participating lawyers to the principles and procedures of the Commission so that they can later provide pro bono representation before the Commission. 

The event will take place on November 15-16 at the Commission’s offices at 1889 F. Street, NW in Washington, D.C. A kickoff breakfast will be held on November 15th at the American University Washington College of Law starting at 9 a.m. Various speakers, practitioners with experience litigating before Inter-American Human Rights Bodies, will participate and share their experience. A luncheon  will follow featuring leading officials from the Organization of American States and  the Commission.  In the afternoon of the 15th, three sessions will introduce participants to the role and importance of the Inter-American human rights system and how the private bar can support its work. Following the first day of sessions, a reception will be held at the offices of Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP.   The second day will feature a series of training sessions on the operating rules, procedures and jurisprudence of the Commission, cases studies as well as presentations on the precautionary measures and friendly settlements mechanisms at the Commission.  A Closing Reception will be held that evening at the offices of White & Case LLP.

The Vance Center and Fundación Pro Bono Chile project seeks to support the Commission by providing pro bono representation to petitioners in certain cases. There are relatively few lawyers with experience litigating before the Commission. The Vance Center and Fundación Pro Bono Chile will thus first provide training to lawyers from the United States and Latin American who will then take on these cases. The goal is to train, over a three years period approximately 140 lawyers, one-third from the U.S. and two-thirds from Latin America, who in turn will provide pro bono representation in approximately 100 cases.

The November program in Washington, D.C. is the first of seven trainings that will take place over the next 30 months.  Subsequent trainings will focus on the operating rules, procedures and jurisprudence of the Commission and will be held in Washington D.C. and select jurisdictions in Latin America.

The ACE Rule of Law Fund has generously provided funding for this event. The Inter-American Pro Bono Network, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the Inter-American Human Rights Institute, and the American University Washington College of Law are also providing support.