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PRO BONO PARTNERSHIPS

For over a decade, New York City lawyers have participated in an unusual experiment: exploring whether through peer-to-peer engagement with lawyers in Latin America they could transform the legal culture in that region. The experiment had no rules or obvious precedent; moreover, the participants were not getting paid or otherwise rewarded for doing it.

Their laboratory for this endeavor became the Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice. In the fall of 2001, New York City Bar Association members began meeting with leading lawyers throughout Latin America to discuss strengthening pro bono practice there. Along with several partners in Latin America, the Vance Center then 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 40 hours of pro bono work for each attorney working there. Today, the declaration has more than 500 signatories, representing more than 10,000 lawyers, committing to least 400,000 hours of pro bono each year.

Recent signatories include:

Ibarra, del Paso, Gallego y Berezowsky, S.C. from Mexico

Russin Vecchi & Heredia Bonetti from the Dominican Republic