Attention: open in a new window. PrintE-mail

Our Programs


As people rebuild their societies in the aftermath of autocratic rule or civil conflict, they face many challenges. They first must compensate victims, prosecute offenders, and reform their laws and institutions of government. However, a revised constitution or newly independent judiciary will not secure democratic governance, without further action.

The Vance Center considers civil society -- the formal and informal groups that people freely create to share views, pursue causes, express culture --to be a key player in democratic transition and lawyers to be key players in civil society. It is lawyers who use and develop the laws and the institutions of government, which define and secure civil rights and promote civil society.

The Vance Center designs its programs in this spirit, to strengthen democratic transition. The rule of law is a crucial ingredient to vibrant civil society, enabling people to rely on the legal system and understand what their governments do. Equal access to justice demonstrates and advances fairness and promotes confidence in the law and legal institutions.


Fundamental to the Vance Center’s programs are:

  • lawyer-to-lawyer collaboration across borders and between private, public and NGO sectors;

  • leveraging scarce resources with significant pro bono engagement;

  • strengthening the capacity and diversity of the legal profession and its activism in and on behalf of civil society.

program composite