Newsletter of the Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice
Colombia Conference Report
 March, 2012
In This Issue

About the Cyrus Vance Center


The Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice of the New York City Bar mobilizes the global legal profession to engage in activities that promote social justice, human rights and democratic values and principles. We perform our work in partnership with private- and public-sector lawyers, members of the judiciary, law schools, and nongovernmental
organizations (NGOs) in the regions where we work.



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Street in Bogota

Colombia Conference Report                


The Vance Center co-hosted several conferences during the week of March 12 in Bogota, Colombia.


The first of these events, held on March 13, was a conference on women in the legal profession in Colombia and presented the results of a survey of Colombian law firms on issues that affect the advancement of women lawyers in that country. To read the full survey, click here. The conference was co-hosted by the Vance Center, Camara de Servicios Legales (ANDI), Latin Lawyer and Universidad de los Andes. Panelists included Claudia Barrero of Prieto Carrizosa (Colombia); Carmen Corrales of Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton (US); Patricia López Au Franc of Marval O'Farrell & Mairal (Argentina); Esther Núñez of Pinheiro Neto (Brazil); and Antonia Stolper of Shearman & Sterling (US). Other presenters included Consuelo Cardenas de Sanz de Santamaria and Isabel Cristina Jaramillo of Universidad de los Andes. The conference was attended by more than 75 legal professionals from across the Americas. Colombian law firms that underwrote the event are: Gómez Pinzón Zuleta; Prieto Carrizosa; Posse Herrera & Ruiz; Lloreda Camacho; Brigard & Urrutia; Baker & McKenzie; Contexto Legal; CavelierAbogados; and Cardenas & Cardenas. Following the conference, a networking reception was hosted by Latin Lawyer.


WIP Panel  

On March 14th, the Vance Center and Latin Lawyer co-hosted a conference on the same topic which provided a platform for dialogue among more than 60 women associates at Colombian law firms. In addition to the panelists who appeared at the event of March 13th, this panel also included Alex Papachristou, Executive Director of the Vance Center; Carrie Cohen of the Vance Center Committee and former chair of the New York City Bar's Committee on Women in the Legal Profession; Cecilia Mairal of Marval O'Farrell & Mairal (Argentina); Veronica Raffo of Ferrere (Uruguay); Corina Bove from Guyer & Regules (Uruguay); Cathleen McLaughlin of Allen & Overy; and Barbara Mendelson of Morrison & Foerster. At both events, Rosie Cresswell from Latin Lawyer announced the joint Vance Center-Latin Lawyer project on women in the law, described below and shown in the following hyperlink:Latin Lawyer Project.  Both of these events are a continuation of the Vance Center's effort to promote the advancement of women in the legal profession in Latin America, and constitute the fifth such convocation in the region, following similar conferences in Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, Santiago and Lima.

 WIP Participants 


On March 15th the Vance Center co-hosted a roundtable with Latin Lawyer, Fundación Pro Bono Colombia and Fundación Pro Bono Chile on the International Pro Bono Network (www.ipbnetwork.org) in collaboration with the following organizations: Appleseed (Mexico), Fundación Barra Mexicana (Mexico), CIDSEP (Paraguay), Alianza Pro Bono (Peru), Comisión de Trabajo Pro Bono e Interés Público (Argentina), Comisión de Trabajo Pro Bono e Interés Público (Costa Rica), Instituto Pro Bono (Brazil), Poder Ciudadano (Argentina), Pro Bono Law Alberta (Canada), ProBonoRD (Dominican Republic), ProVene (Venezuela), Public Counsel (US) and Venezuela Sin Limites (Venezuela). Panelists outlined the Network's objectives for 2012, including conducting a training program on the Inter-American human rights system for US and Latin American private bar lawyers and implementing several regional access to justice projects on topics ranging from disability rights and elder law to access to public information and freedom of information. Participants came from all across the region and provided updates on the status of pro bono implementation in their respective countries. At the end of the discussion, Rosie Cresswell of Latin Lawyer again announced the joint Vance Center-Latin Lawyer project on surveying pro bono implementation in Latin America, described below.



On March 16, a roundtable was co-hosted by the Vance Center, Fundación Pro Bono Colombia, Fundación Pro Bono Chile and Latin Lawyer with NGOs from Colombia and other countries in Latin America to discuss how NGOs can use pro bono lawyers to advance their missions. In addition to the co-hosts, participants included Venezuela Sin Limites, ProVene, Public Counsel Law Center and several local Colombian NGOs.   

Survey Regarding Women Lawyers in Latin America



It is well documented that women lawyers are significantly under-represented in the legal profession in Latin America, both in law firms and in corporate legal departments. In an effort to determine the reasons for this under-representation, the Vance Center and Latin Lawyer are undertaking a survey of lawyers and law firms in the region. The survey will seek to identify issues that are preventing women lawyers from advancing in the legal profession in Latin America. The survey will look at challenges such as business development, networking, and mentoring and will try to identify "best practices" to address some of the barriers. To develop the survey, analyze its results, and recommend best practices, the Vance Center and Latin Lawyer will convene focus groups and meetings with pioneering women attorneys, leading firms, and professional organizations in the U.S. and Latin America. We anticipate that this project will provide law firms and corporate legal departments with the tools they need to improve women's advancement in the profession. To read the full document, click here.


Tracking the Implementation of the PBDA

The Vance Center and Latin Lawyer have partnered to conduct a survey on the implementation of the Pro Bono Declaration for the Americas (PBDA). Five years after its launch in Mexico City in January 2008, the PBDA has become the cornerstone document for lawyers and law firms in Latin America that engage in pro bono activities that benefit the disadvantaged and marginalized. Adhered to by more than 500 law firms throughout the Western hemisphere, the Declaration commits signatories to a minimum average of 20 hours of pro bono work per lawyer per year. This translates into a bank of over 600,000 hours that lawyers have pledged to rendering their expertise and services free of charge to those most in need in their countries and across borders.
The partnership between the Vance Center and Latin Lawyer marks a milestone in tracking the impact of the PBDA in Latin America. The Vance Center and Latin Lawyer will develop a survey to elicit information from law firms that have signed the PBDA about to be their progress in implementing pro bono within their firms. These firms will have the opportunity to disclose statistics on their pro bono work, such as total hours rendered per year, percentage of partners and associates involved in pro bono work, number and types of projects undertaken, sources of work, and levels of financial contribution to local referral organizations. To read the full document, click here