Pro Bono Organisations Outside Australia
Australia is not alone in having a Centre committed to promoting and supporting the provision of pro bono legal services. Similar Centres and activities exist in the UK, Canada, the US and around the world. There are also international organisations that promote pro bono. See below for links to these organisations' websites - however please note that this list is not exhaustive.
- International Organisations
- South America
InternationalProBono.com - IBA brings together local and international professionals involved in pro bono. It was formed in 1947 in New York with 34 bar associations, inspired by the United Nations and with the aim of supporting the establishment of law and administration of justice worldwide.
The IBA developed a website dedicated to international pro bono information and coordination in 2008 managed by the IBA London office. It provides resources such as guidelines, projects and training materials to assist those interested in participating in pro bono. It also provides news and regular updates of what other professionals are doing both internationally and locally as well as providing an extensive directory of links to various pro bono websites.
Through the IBA Pro Bono site, the IBA conducts an online matchmaking service where IBA Member Bar Associations and Soros Foundations registered with the IBA may use this site to submit requests for pro bono assistance from IBA Group Member Firms around the world and these firms may use this site to view and respond to requests from Member Bar Associations and Soros Foundations.
Global Justice for Network Initiatives - an on-line community of lawyers, scholars, advocates and others around the world who are interested in issues related to the expansion of access to justice and the transformation of the legal profession and legal systems to make them more responsive to societal needs.
Advocates for International Development - A4ID is a UK based international development charity established in 2006 which aims to further the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. A4ID’s work focuses on 3 distinct areas: International Pro Bono, Education and Awareness Raising. The International Pro Bono area provides an international broker function (125 projects brokered in 2008-2009) and a Newly Qualified Lawyer’s Programme that places junior lawyers in developing countries during their qualification leave.
A4ID works through Development Partners (145 in 2008-2009) that include local and international Non-Governmental Organisations ("NGOs"), Inter-Governmental Organisations, social enterprises, bar associations and law societies and developing country Governments. A4ID receives requests for legal advice and assistance and matches them with lawyers who are able to assist. These ‘Legal Partners’ (19 in 2008-2009) include a wide range of leading law firms and chambers in the UK and partnership is also available for in-house legal teams and legal academic institutions. Legal Partners pay membership fees.
Lex Mundi Pro Bono Foundation - a non-profit corporation organized under the laws of the District of Columbia. The Foundation is an affiliate of Lex Mundi, the world's leading association of independent law firms. The Foundation is a matchmaker. Drawing upon Lex Mundi's global network of 160 top tier business law firms in 100 countries and 560 offices, the Foundation finds experienced lawyers willing to provide pro bono legal services to social entrepreneurs. Social entrepreneurs decide whether to retain or engage Lex Mundi lawyers who have been introduced by the Foundation.
New Perimeter Worldwide pro bono initiative - DLA Piper LLP has created New Perimeter, a new non-profit affiliate. Its mission is to provide DLA Piper with a more strategic approach to pro bono work, and to bring their lawyers' expertise to bear on some of the world's most pressing problems.
TrustLaw and TrustLaw Connect -TrustLaw is a new international vehicle for pro bono legal support and a hub of legal information, run by Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of the world's leading provider of news and information. TrustLaw’s goal is to spread the culture of pro bono globally, taking it to countries where it is not common practice. It is managed from London.
TrustLaw Connect was launched in April 2010 and provides a matchmaking service between NGOs, social entrepreneurs (and possibly government agencies) seeking pro bono help and law firm members willing to provide pro bono legal services. Membership is free and Trust Law will vet all participants, both pro bono seeker and provider. The service will provide a case handler who collects information and ensures that requests are expressed in a correct way so as to seek legal advice. These opportunities will be placed on a website and notified to members in a weekly email.
TrustLaw will initially focus on good governance and anti-corruption issues, pulling together a variety of initiatives.
Cyrus R. Vance Center - The Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice of the New York City Bar seeks to expand access to justice in young democracies and developing economies. It conducts a Global Pro Bono Clearing House and has had a focus on projects in Latin America and Africa in recent years.
Public Interest Law Institute - The Public Interest Law Institute (PILI) is an international NGO that advances human rights around the world by stimulating public interest advocacy and developing the institutions necessary to sustain it. PILI was founded in 1997 with the support of the Ford Foundation at Columbia University but now has its head office in Budapest Hungary as its main focus is Europe. One of its core programs is promoting pro bono and for the past three years has hosted the European Pro Bono Forum.
PILI has created a number of clearinghouses (in Hungary, Russia and China) that match up lawyers with NGOs that have legal challenges. In 2006 it created the Global Clearinghouse that partners law firms in one country with NGOs in another. Lists of available matters are distributed monthly to its law firm partners.
Law Works - is the operating name of the Solicitors Pro Bono Group (SPBG) - an independent charity with a mission to support, promote and encourage a commitment to pro bono across the solicitors' profession.
www.probonouk.net - This is a portal website for pro bono activity in the UK. Its genesis was with the Attorney General’s Pro Bono Committee in 2003 which decided to progress a website to coordinate, support and inform the pro bono community. The brief for this site was to try to bring pro bono providers together into a community to share information and experiences and, at the same time, provide guidance for members of the public in need of legal help. Content is regularly added to this site.
Business in the Community (BITC) - BITC is a unique movement of over 800 member companies committed to improving their positive impact on society, representing 1 in 5 of the UK private sector workforce. A further 3,000 companies are engaged through BITC programs and campaigns which are operated through a local network of more than 100 business-led partnerships. BITC leads a global partners network of 112 organisations operating in over 60 countries. BITC aims to inspire, engage, support and challenge companies to continually improve the impact they have on society and the environment through their Corporate Social Responsibility.
ProHelp - ProHelp is an initiative of BITC. It is a national network of over 800 professional firms who are committed to making a difference in their local community by providing free advice and professional support.
The Bar Pro Bono Unit - The Bar Pro Bono Unit is a charity established in 1996 which acts as a clearing house, matching barristers prepared to undertake pro bono work with those who need their help.
Free Representation Unit - The Free Representation Unit (FRU) ia charity founded in 1972 . Volunteer law students and legal professionals in the early stages of their career provide legal advice, case preparation and advocacy in tribunal cases for those who could not otherwise obtain legal support, for want of personal means or public funding.
International Lawyers Project - ILP is a legal pro bono initiative aimed at matching the willingness and availability of senior lawyers to pro bono opportunities, usually in an international context. Based in London it operates in association with International Senior Lawyers Project of the USA. One of its first tasks has been to set up a register of practising and retired lawyers. Volunteers’ reasonable travel and accommodation costs are paid by ILP. Its founding sponsors include the London Magic Circle law firms.
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Pro Bono Law Ontario - Pro Bono Law Ontario was established in 2002. Its objective is to foster the development of pro bono projects in Ontario for low and modest-income individuals and voluntary organizations. This site describes PBLO's projects, news and best practices.
Access Pro Bono Law Society of British Columbia - Access Pro Bono was incorporated to carry on the work of the Western Canada Society to Access Justice and Pro Bono Law of BC, which formally merged as of April 1, 2010. Access Pro Bono carries on the services and programs formerly offered by the two organisations including:
• over 85 summary legal advice clinics in community centres, social agencies, churches and courthouses located throughout the province;
• a province-wide roster program providing representation services to individuals and non-profit organizations of limited means;
• a superior courts civil duty counsel project in Vancouver; and
• a Children's Lawyer project in Nanaimo.
This is an impressive website based on the US ProBono.Net model. Plenty of resources and ideas here.
Pro Bono Law Alberta - PBLA started in 2007 and was formed as a legacy project in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Law Society of Alberta. This website is also based on the US ProBono.Net model.
Pro Bono Law Saskatchewan - Launched on 19 June 2008, PBLS is the fourth Canadian state to adopt a coordinated approach to pro bono service delivery. This new website is smart and easily navigable containing good local information.
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Pro Bono Institute - Established in 1996, the Pro Bono Institute is a small non-profit organization housed at the Georgetown University Law Center that provides research, consultative services, analysis and assessment, publications, and training to a broad range of legal audiences. The US has a developed pro bono culture and there are many exciting programs listed here.
Corporate Pro Bono.Org - CPBO is a national outreach and technical assistance project sponsored by the Association of Corporate Counsel America (ACCA) and the Pro Bono Institute, which is designed to enhance the pro bono culture at in-house legal departments and to exponentially increase the volume of pro bono work undertaken by in-house lawyers.
The CorporateProBono.Org project receives guidance from an Advisory Board made up of more than twenty general counsel from corporations across the United States and overseas.
Pro Bono Net - Pro Bono Net is a national non-profit organisation which works in close partnership with non-profit legal organisations across the United States and Canada, to increase access to justice for millions of poor people. In addition to providing resources, Pro Bono Net aims to support the innovative use of technology by the non-profit legal sector, increase volunteer participation, and facilitate partnerships between non-legal organisations and legal advocates.
Lawyers Without Borders - Lawyers Without Borders is the world's largest group of volunteer lawyers from around the globe who stand ready to offer pro bono service to worldwide projects and initiatives. Lawyers Without Borders is a portal and clearing house for legal needs and organisations in search of legal resources as well as a vehicle for addressing human rights issues. Its goal is to provide legal support to rule of law projects and initiatives in human rights and national building at low or significantly reduced costs.
American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative - The ABA ROLI is a public service project of the American Bar Association dedicated to promoting the rule of law around the world. Now in its 20th year, it operates in Africa, Asia, Europe and Eurasia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Middle East and North Africa. It is a program of individual volunteering - judges, attorneys, law professors and legal specialists. The program “only considers professionals with a minimum of five years of relevant experience, a high level of energy and initiative, strong interpersonal skills, and relevant substantive legal expertise. International experience and foreign language skills are preferred, but not always required.
All volunteer participants serving over 90 days receive a generous support package that covers travel, housing and general living and business expenses. In-country foreign language training and medical evacuation are also included. Participants serving for shorter periods will receive a similar, but less comprehensive, package.
The ABA provides a useful list of its specific projects and other volunteer opportunities in international pro bono work.
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Avocats Sans Frontières - ASF is an international NGO created in 1992 in Brussels (Belgium) and is mostly made up of lawyers, solicitors and magistrates. ASF coordinates field programmes aimed at improving access to justice, which include:
- Legal support and diffusion of information to vulnerable populations;
- Support and reinforcement of local actors through seminars and training courses;
- Awareness-raising projects; and
- Legal and technical support to lawyers and NGOs active in the fields of human rights, the fight against impunity and the fight against torture.
Individual lawyers can become members of ASF by paying an annual membership fee of 40 Euros.
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Cape Law Society Rule 21 requires that all of its members provide 24 hours of pro bono services a year, which has now been matched by most other provincial law societies in South Africa (for more information see the Law Society of South Africa's website).
ProBono.Org is a pro bono clearing house with offices in Johannesburg and Durban. Their website provides information on pro bono work undertaken throughout South Africa.
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Instituto Pro Bono (Brazil) — in Portugese
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