Baker McKenzie, the leading global law firm in Latin America, announced that it would be expanding its partnership with the Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice, a recognized non-profit that advances global justice by engaging lawyers across borders to support civil society, to develop joint efforts to broaden pro-bono initiatives in the region.
“Philanthropy and community service are part of Baker McKenzie’s culture. As the largest law firm in Latin America, we are committed to serving the communities where we work," said Regional Chair for Baker McKenzie Jaime Trujillo. "Our partnership with Vance Center represents a key alliance to broaden our pro-bono offerings, bringing legal representation to under-served entities with the goal of ensuring the justice system works fairly for everyone.”
For decades, Baker McKenzie lawyers have actively supported pro-bono projects in Latin America. Some recent examples of the Firm's pro-bono engagements include supporting the creation of the Legal Atlas for the Street Children Atlas project (developed by the Consortium for Street Children (CSC) and the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child), which offers a comparative tool to map the legal context for children in street situations, country by country; advising earthquake victims in Mexico on labor and real estate matters; establishing legal precedent for the application of the Convention of Persons with Disabilities in Peru; and fostering the program Incluir Direito, deployed by the CESA (Center of Studies for Attorneys Societies), which aims to increase the number or black students in the top-ranking law schools in Brazil*.
To continue expanding the Firm's philanthropic scope in the region, Baker McKenzie is growing its cooperation with the Vance Center by incorporating all of its Latin American offices as signatories of the Pro-Bono Declaration of the Americas, which had previously been signed by the Firm's offices in Colombia, Mexico, and Peru.
The Pro-Bono Declaration of the Americas is a collaborative regional effort to articulate the professional responsibility of lawyers to promote access to justice and provide pro bono legal assistance to those in need. Trujillo signed the declaration along with representatives of the Firm from Argentina, Brazil1, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, and Venezuela at the Vance Center in New York.
“The Vance Center welcomes the Latin American offices of Baker McKenzie as signatories to the Pro-Bono Declaration of the Americas and commends the Firm and its lawyers for their dedication to pro-bono practice," said Executive Director at the Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice Alexander Papachristou. "We have collaborated with several of these offices on pro-bono projects in the past, but recognize the signing of the declaration to be a significant institutional commitment".
Baker McKenzie's alliance with the Vance Center aims to build upon the Firm’s efforts of providing pro-bono legal representation to underprivileged communities in the region. As part of this partnership, Baker McKenzie commits itself to meeting annual pro-bono service benchmarks and strengthens its bold pledge to giving back to the communities where the Firm operates in Latin America.
Established in 2001, the Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice provides free legal representation to civil society organizations, as well as international human rights bodies, around the world, with frequent collaboration by leading law firms on a pro-bono basis. In this capacity, the Vance Center also advises clients with missions and projects in Human Rights, Environment, and Good Governance.
The Pro-Bono Declaration of the Americas unites all of these signatories around a shared definition of pro bono work, which has gained international recognition. The Vance Center proudly maintains the list of signatories and welcomes all lawyers wishing to learn about and do more pro-bono work.
* In cooperation agreement with Trench Rossi Watanabe, a Brazilian law firm.