Newsletter of the Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice

 September 2012
In This Issue:

Training Program in Washington, D.C., November 15-16

The Vance Center    


The Vance Center 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.


The Vance Center is constituted by practicing lawyers committed to providing and promoting pro bono legal service to support civil society and social justice. Based at the New York City Bar Association, the Center collaborates with law firms, NGO's, law schools and lawyers' organizations throughout the world.


The Vance Center premises its engagement on the unique role of lawyers as agents of good governance and the public interest: independent intermediaries implementing the procedures and principles that constitute rule of law and advocating for the equality and rights of individuals.


The Vance Center employs the approach to international justice developed and practiced by Cyrus R. Vance: collaborative, pragmatic conflict resolution based on ironclad adherence to honest dealing and basic human rights.




Pro Bono Partners


The Vance Center and Fundación Pro Bono Chile have an active network of law firms throughout the Americas committed to pro bono service - starting with the 20 firms based in New York City represented on the Vance Center Committee and the 30 firms represented on the Board of Directors of Fundación Pro Bono Chile. The Vance Center, with the collaboration of Fundación Pro Bono Chile, spearheaded the Pro Bono Declaration of the Americas, to which more than 500 firms with more than 4,000 lawyers are signatories, representing a bank of 600,000+ hours dedicated to pro bono service annually. Our network also includes a dozen pro bono clearinghouses in Latin America, known as the Red Pro Bono Internacional/Inter-American Pro Bono Network, which collaborate regularly with the Vance Center and Fundación Pro Bono Chile in recruiting U.S. and Latin American law firms to take on bi- and multi-lateral pro bono matters.


International Pro Bono Network

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Vance Center and Fundación Pro Bono Chile Announce Hemispheric Meeting in Washington, D.C., on Pro Bono and Access to Justice 

IACHR Commissioners in front of the Washington D.C. headquarters, site of the Vance Center November training. 


The Vance Center and Fundación Pro Bono Chile are co-hosting a program in Washington, D.C., in November to train lawyers from the United States and Latin America to represent indigent clients before the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (the "Commission"). The event will introduce participating lawyers to the procedures of the Commission so that they are prepared to provide pro bono representation before the Commission. Implementation of international and inter-American treaties related to access to justice, freedom of speech and access to public information will be the primary focus.  Attorneys from the United States and Latin America who are interested in gaining experience in the pro bono practice of law before the Commission are encouraged to apply to attend this upcoming event.

The training sessions will take place at the Commission's offices over two days, November 15-16. The first day will focus on strategy. It will begin with a kickoff breakfast at the American University Washington College of Law, followed by a midday luncheon. Both events will feature leading officials from the Organization of American States, the Inter-American Development Bank, the International Center for the Settlement of Disputes, the Commission and executive and judicial agencies of the U.S. Government. On the afternoon of the first day,  two training sessions will introduce the role and importance of the Inter-American human rights system within the business and legal spheres of the region. A reception will be held at the offices of Weil Gotshal & Manges that evening. The second day will provide information to participants about how to take on cases.   A Closing reception will be held that evening at the offices of White & Case.

Administered by the Organization of American States, the Commission serves as a vital resource for individuals and non-governmental organizations throughout the hemisphere.  Anyone from North, Central or South America can petition the Commission for review of any governmental action or inaction that allegedly breaches international human rights obligations. The Commission determines which petitions warrant investigation, imposes interim measures, and issues findings. In certain cases, the Commission seeks judicial review on behalf of petitioners at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in Costa Rica. The Commission operates according to its own rules of procedure and relies on its own precedents to guide its decisions.

The Commission receives more than 1,600 petitions every year - a number that is sharply increasing annually - which must be reviewed by its seven Commissioners and staff of 30 lawyers. There currently is a backlog of approximately 5,000 petitions.

The joint project of the  Vance Center and Fundación Pro Bono Chile seeks to support the Commission by providing pro bono representation to petitioners. There are relatively few lawyers with experience in practicing before the Commission. The objective of the project is to train lawyers from the United States and Latin America to provide the additional representation. The goal over three years is to train up to 140 lawyers - one-third from the U.S. and two-thirds from Latin America - who will provide pro bono representation to approximately 100 petitioners.

The November program in Washington, D.C., is the first of seven training programs that will take place over the course of the next 30 months. It is the launch of the initiative and will include high-level meetings with officials of the inter-American system. Subsequent training programs will focus primarily on the operating rules, procedures and jurisprudence of the system and will be held in Washington, D.C., New York and in select jurisdictions in Latin America.

The ACE Rule of Law Fund has generously provided funding for this event. The Inter-American Human Rights Commission, Court and Institute,  American University Washington College of Law and George Washington University Law School also are providing support.

We hope to attract a large number of participants, both litigators and corporate attorneys, from throughout the hemisphere to attend this important event.

Admission to the breakfast, training sessions, luncheon and receptions are all free-of-charge, but registration is required. Participants eligible for Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credit will receive such credit. Latin American participants will receive a complimentary year-long membership at the New York City Bar. The working languages of the event will be English and Spanish, and bidirectional simultaneous translation will be provided.

The following is a list of confirmed participants from the United States: 
  • Carey Dunne | Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP; President, New York City Bar
  • Ted Maynard | Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison LLP; Chair, Vance Center Committee
  • Todd Crider | Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP; Vice-Chair, Vance Center Committee
  • Antonia Stolper | Shearman & Sterling LLP; Vice-Chair, Vance Center Committee
  • Aris Ali | Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP
  • Yohai Baisburd | White & Case LLP
  • Maurice Blanco | Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP; Vance Center Committee
  • Carmine Boccuzzi | Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP
  • Hunter Carter | Arent Fox LLP; Vance Center Committee
  • Carmen Corrales | Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP; Vance Center Committee
  • Jaime Crowe | White & Case LLP
  • Bob Cusumano | ACE Ltd.; Vance Center Committee
  • Chuck Davidow | Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison LLP
  • Michael Fitzgerald | Paul Hastings LLP; Vance Center Committee
  • Alex de Gramont | Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP
  • Jonathan Hamilton | White & Case LLP; Vance Center Committee
  • Christina Holder | Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft LLP; Vance Center Committee
  • Marcia Maack | Mayer Brown LLP; Vance Center Committee
  • Taisa Markus | Paul Hastings LLP; Vance Center Committee
  • Cathleen McLaughlin | Allen & Overy LLP; Vance Center Committee
  • Inosi Nyatta | Sullivan & Cromwell LLP; Vance Center Committee
  • Eric Ordway | Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP; Vance Center Committee
  • Tony Perez | Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP
  • Thomas Pieper | Chadbourne & Parke LLP
  • Ted Posner | Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP
  • Joe Profaizer | Paul Hastings LLP
  • Steve Reiss | Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP
  • Chip Roh | Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP
  • Marc Rossell | Chadbourne & Parke LLP; Vance Center Committee
  • Christopher Ryan | Shearman & Sterling LLP
  • Ezequiel Sanchez Herrera | Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP
  • Mike Socarras | Chadbourne & Parke LLP
  • Phoebe Wilkinson | Chadbourne & Parke LLP
For more information and to register, please contact ecolomer@nycbar.org.