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Chile Conference to Explore the Future of Pro Bono and Access to Justice in the Americas

On April 7th and 8th, 2011, lawyers from firms, bar associations, law schools, and public interest institutions from more than 15 countries will convene at a conference in Santiago, Chile, to assess the future of pro bono legal practice and access to justice in the Americas.

The conference, entitled Pro Bono and the Legal Profession: Strengthening Access to Justice, is organized by the Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice of the New York City Bar in collaboration with Fundación Pro Bono Chile.  Participants will include senior members of the legal profession from New York, including partners from Allen & Overy; Arent Fox; Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton; Jones Day; Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy; Morrison & Foerster; Shearman & Sterling; Simpson Thacher & Bartlett; and Sullivan & Cromwell.

Many of the conference attendees are signatories to the Pro Bono Declaration of the Americas, pledging to undertake a minimum of 20 hours of pro bono work per lawyer per year. More than 500 law firms, bar associations, corporate law departments, law schools and NGOs have signed the Declaration, which was coordinated by the Vance Center.

Samuel W. Seymour, President of the New York City Bar Association, who will speak at the conference, called the gathering “a testament to the sea change that has occurred across the continent with regard to how lawyers envision their role in democratic societies and their understanding of how to use their legal skills to advocate on behalf of the poor and marginalized. The gathering will undoubtedly result in more innovative ways that lawyers can strengthen access to justice.”

The conference is sponsored by ACE Rule of Law Fund, Citi, Latin Lawyer and Thomson Reuters. ACE Limited, Citi’s Corporate Legal Department, Latin Lawyer (London) and Thomson Reuters TrustLaw (France) are participants.  

The Vance Center, mobilizes the global legal profession to engage in activities that expand access to justice for the poor and marginalized and promote human rights, especially in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa. The Vance Center’s name honors the memory of Cyrus R. Vance, past president of the City Bar and former United States Secretary of State.

Admission to the conference is free of charge and prospective attendees are encouraged to pre-register at the conference’s website: http://www.probono2011.com/. For more information on the conference, contact Elise Colomer, the Vance Center’s Senior Program Director, at (212)382-6795, or ecolomer@nycbar.org.

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