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The Program for Strengthening the Legal Profession builds an ethic and practice of global engagement on behalf of vulnerable, disadvantaged individuals and communities. Initiatives include:

Pro Bono in the Americas

The Vance Center since 2001 has brought lawyers throughout the Americas to collaborate in promoting and institutionalizing pro bono practice. The Pro Bono Declaration of the Americas, a written commitment to provide pro bono service, has more than 500 law firms and other signatories from 21 countries representing more than 10,000 lawyers and a minimum of 200,000 hours of pro bono service.

In 2015, the Vance Center convened pro bono meetings in Panama, Mexico, and Guatemala; and 6 new lawfirms from Mexico, The Dominican Republic, Argentina, Colombia and Panama signed the Pro Bono Declaration.

The Vance Center has promoted the establishment of pro bono clearinghouses throughout Latin America. Alongside Fundacón Pro Bono Chile and other partners, the Vance Center launched the Pro Bono Network of the Americas in 2011 to facilitate collaboration among clearninghouses. Thirteen clearinghouses participate in the Network whose members are supporting the establishment of clearinghouses in five more countries in South and Central America.

In 2015, the Vance Center and Fundación Pro Bono Chile led an effort with other Network members to institutionalize the Network, with a target to complete this process in 2016.

African Legal Fellows Program

The Vance Center brings since 2003 has brought 42 lawyers of color from South Africa to work for a year in international law firms and corporate legal departments in New York City.

In 2015, the vance Center Committee committed to expand the program to include lawyers from other African countries with common law jurisprudence.

For more information on the African Legal Fellows Program, click here.

Women in the Legal Profession Program

The Vance Center since 2007 has convened conferences in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Panama, Peru, and Uruguay to consider how to improve opportunities and conditions for women in the profession. A steering committee of leading women lawyers throughout the hemisphere has formed to lead these efforts.

WIP in 2015 has fostered mentorship programs in Mexico (Abogadas MX) and Chile ( Aprendiendo a Liderar) to enable women lawyers to share best practices and collaborate on solutions to narrowing the gender gap, especially regarding leadership positions. 

For more information on the Women in the Legal Profession Program, click here