Newsletter of the Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice

 July 2012
In This Issue

Tinker Foundation Grant
Costa Rica: Down Syndrome Campaign
Lorraine McGowen, Honoree
Spotlight: FPB Chile
Honduras: Food Bank
Gomez-Pinzon Zuleta Receives Award
Claro y Cia Receives Award

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.



Quick Links
Follow us on Twitter

Like us on Facebook 


Yo Puedo y Vos
Costa Rica

Yo Puedo 1Yo Puedo 2
Yo Puedo 3
Photos Courtesy of BLP Abogados

Tinker Foundation Grant
Tinker Foundation Logo


The Vance Center is pleased to announce a 3-year grant from The Tinker Foundation to support the Vance Center's project "Hemispheric Pro Bono Lawyers Partnership for Rule of Law and Access to Justice." The project will organize teams of lawyers from countries throughout Latin America and the United States to work together on pro bono initiatives.  These will include efforts to strengthen compliance with international and inter-American treaties on issues like rights of disabled persons and protection for women against violence, as well as promotion of environmental sustainability.  The project will build on the ongoing achievement of the Vance Center and its Latin American partners, previously supported by the Tinker Foundation, in establishing the Pro Bono Declaration of the Americas.  This commitment to providing pro bono legal service has enlisted more than 4,000 lawyers throughout the hemisphere and led to the creation of a dozen pro bono legal clearinghouses in Latin America. 

Established by Edward Larocque Tinker (1881-1968), the Tinker Foundation (www.tinker.org) seeks to promote the development of an equitable, sustainable and productive society in Latin America and to enhance trust and cooperation in the hemisphere.   The Vance Center (www.vancecenter.org)  strengthens democratic transition by engaging lawyers across borders to advance rule of law and equal access to justice in countries undertaking legal and institutional reform following autocratic rule or civil conflict.

Costa Rica: Down Syndrome Campaign
David Gutierrez
D. Gutierrez


Our partner and PBDA signatory, BLP Abogados of Costa Rica launched a campaign called Yo Puedo y Vos, which has the objective  of educating the country's wider population on the achievements and challenges of persons with Down Syndrome. The campaign features an exposition of pictures of children and young adults with Down Syndrome accompanied by quotes that celebrate their many successes and express their hopes for the future. Posters were displayed in an open air gallery in downtown San José. The gallery, which was developed with the support of the municipality of San José and the Costa Rican Bar Association, will go on tour to major cultural and commercial locations throughout Costa Rica. Vivian Liberman, President of the BLP Pro Bono Foundation as well as Chair of the Pro Bono Committee of the Costa Rican Bar Association, stressed that the campaign is the first social outreach effort of its type in Costa Rica. David Gutierrez, the founding partner of BLP Abogados, emphasized that a major purpose of the campaign is to sensitize society on the theme of educating people with Down Syndrome.   "Lamentably, our educational systems are homogenized, without consideration for the evident individuality of students, families and teachers." To read more about the campaign in Spanish, click here.  Mr. Gutierrez was recently recognized for his dedication to pro bonLL Leader of Yearo projects in Costa Rica by Latin Lawyer, which named him Law Firm Leader of the Year for Central America.  To read more about his award, click here.   


Lorraine S. McGowen, Honoree 
Lorraine S. McGowen
Lorraine McGowen


Lorraine S. McGowen, a member of the Vance Center Committee, was honored by the New York City Bar on June 5 at its 2012 Diversity and Inclusiveness Champion Award ceremony. The award honors individual attorneys who have demonstrated a commitment to implementing diversity and inclusiveness within the legal profession. Ms. McGowen is a partner at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, where she has supported the advancement of diverse individuals at the firm through her mentorship and leadership. Currently, Orrick is hosting an attorney participating in the South Africa Visiting Lawyer Program, a project administered by the Vance Center that, over the past decade, has brought forty South African attorneys from disadvantaged backgrounds to New York City for legal internships. On June 18, Orrick hosted an event commemorating 18 years of democracy in South Africa. Tseliso Thipanyane, former head of the South African Human Rights Commission, presented an address and the three current visiting lawyers participated in a panel discussion about developments in the South African legal profession since the end of apartheid.


Soledad Pedrero
Soledad Pedreros
Spotlight:  FPB Chile

Our Chilean partner Fundación Pro Bono assisted Soledad Pedreros, a cancer patient and mother of three, by recruiting a pro bono attorney to write her will. Ms. Pedreros, whose youngest son has Down Sydrome, wanted to ensure that her children would be protected in the event that her cancer treatments were unsuccessful.   


Central Law Honduras: First Food Bank in Honduras
Central Law Logo


Our partner and PBDA signatory Central Law has spearheaded the opening of the first food bank in Honduras. Launched in Tegucipala, its purpose is to receive food and funds from local companies and distribute them to the poor.  The food bank was created in December 2011 by five prominent companies--Walmart, Lacthosa, Funazucar, Banco Atlántica and Corporación Dinant-- assisted by pro bono legal support provided by Central Law Honduras. Central Law is a multinational firm with eleven offices in seven countries: Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama and Dominican Republic. Their Pro Bono Brief, which describes the food bank program as well as other pro bono programs of the firm, can be accessed by clicking here.  According to Guadalupe Martinez of Central Law, the food bank has "benefited more than 2,900 people in Honduras by delivering them more than 3,500 kilograms of food."


Gomez-Pinzon Zuleta Receives Award
Gomez Pinzon
Paula Samper
P. Samper



Colombian firm and PBDA signatory Gomez-Pinzon Zuleta Abogados, of which our colleague Paula Samper is a partner, was honored for its promotion of women in the legal profession at the Inaugural America's Women in Business Law Award ceremony sponsored by Euromoney Legal Media Group. To read more, click here.


Claro y Cia Receives Award

Claro y Cia Logo 


PBDA signatory Claro y Cia of Chile received an award in recognition of its pro bono activities from Lex Mundi, the global law firm association.