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May 2013
 Vance Center eNotes
Welcome to the Vance Center eNotes, where you can read about our organization's latest news and developments.

Vance Center Supports South Africa Conference on Diversity in Legal Profession


On May 17, the South African Legal Fellowship Network held a conference in Johannesburg on "Transformation in the Corporate Legal Profession." The seminar included opening remarks by Sandile Ngcobo, former Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa; lively panel discussions on ways of increasing the representation of lawyers of color at established corporate law firms and of strengthening black-owned firms, and closing remarks by Judge George B. Daniels of the Southern District of New York, a member of the Vance Center Committee.  Lorraine McGowen of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, also a member of the Vance Center Committee; Rossie Turman of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom; and Elizabeth Millard, Managing Director of the Vance Center, also participated.  A reception celebrating the tenth anniversary of the Vance Center's South Africa Legal Fellows Program followed the conference. The South Africa Legal Fellowship Network is the association formed by past participants in the Vance Center's South African Legal Fellows Program. The Vance Center's participation in the conference was generously funded by the ACE Rule of Law Fund. 
From left: Judge George B. Daniels of the Southern District of New York and a member of the Vance Center Committee; Harry Pretorius, Legal and Compliance Manager at Ace Insurance Limited; Rorisang Mongoato, associate at Norton Rose and past participant in the South African Legal Fellows Program; and Elizabeth Millard, Managing Director of the Vance Center

ACE Rule of Law Fund Backs Pioneering Survey of Diversity in South African Law Firms


The Vance Center, together with its partners the Mail & Guardian newspaper, the Witswatersrand University School of Law, the South African Legal Fellowship Network, and the Law Society of South Africa, recently commissioned a demographic survey of the larger corporate law firms in South Africa. The survey elicited information about the number of lawyers of color at these firms at various levels, from candidate attorneys, through associate ranks, to partners.  The ACE Rule of Law Fund generously provided a grant to the Vance Center to fund the survey.


The survey results show that the number of lawyers of color decreases at each higher level at corporate law firms in South Africa, with a significant paucity of black lawyers at these firms, especially at the higher levels.  The Vance Center and its partners plan to explore further the reasons for this paucity and to use the survey results to develop strategies for improving the hiring and retention of lawyers of color. 


The survey report is available here. It provides information not only about the number of lawyers of color at the larger corporate law firms in South Africa but also about the number of women lawyers at these firms.

Chief Justice of Kenya Describes Judiciary's Role in Recent Elections and Country's Transformation

On May 13, the Vance Center co-sponsored a presentation by the Honorable Dr. Willy Mutunga, Chief Justice and President of the Supreme Court of Kenya, along with the City Bar's African Affairs Committee and Council on International Affairs. Vance Center Committee member Elchi Nowrojee introduced Chief Justice Mutunga, noting "the tremendous and sustained contributions that Dr Mutunga has made to the democratization of Kenya and the promotion of social justice there over a period of more than 35 years." 
From left: Kenyan Deputy UN Ambassador Koki Muli Grignon; Chief Justice Willy Mutunga; African Affairs Committee Member John Edozie; Vance Center Committee Member Elchi Nowrojee; and Executive Director Alexander Papachristou

Chief Justice Mutunga s
poke on the implementation of Kenya's 2010 constitution and the role of the judiciary in Kenya's transformation. His remarks came a little more than one month after a unanimous Supreme Court upheld the decision of Kenya's independent electoral commission giving a narrow victory in Kenya's presidential elections to Uhuru Kenyatta. The Chief Justice credited trust in the Supreme Court and Kenya's 2010 Constitution with the largely peaceful reaction to the decision and the election results. He described the Constitution as affording a wide array of civil rights, and also commented on challenges to the judiciary, as it steers the country through devolution of central power to new country governments.  

Vance Center Celebrates 10 Years of International Pro Bono Engagement

From left: Edwin S. Maynard, chair of the Vance Center Committee and a partner at Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison LLP; Michael A. Cooper, former City Bar President and Of Counsel to Sullivan & Cromwell LLP; Barbara Berger Opotowsky, outgoing Executive Director of the City Bar; Evan A. Davis, former City Bar President and Senior Counsel at Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP; Alexander Papachristou, Executive Director of the Vance Center; Carey R. Dunne, City Bar President; Cyrus Vance, Jr., District Attorney of New York County; Joan Vermuelen, Founding Director of the Vance Center; S. Todd Crider, a partner at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, the founding firm of the Vance Center; and William R. Dougherty, chairman of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP's Executive Committee

The Vance Center celebrated i
ts 10th anniversary on May 7 at the City Bar library. After snacking on Peruvian appetizers, the nearly 100 celebrants heard welcoming remarks by Vance Center Committee Chair Ted Maynard and City Bar President Carey Dunne. Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., Manhattan District Attorney, in keynote remarks, acknowledged the work of the Vance Center as fulfilling his father's commitment to international human rights, social justice, and pro bono legal service. He also recognized Bill Dougherty, chairman of the executive committee of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, his father's longtime law firm, which was honored at the event.

Vance Center Executive Director Alexander Papachristou then described the Vance Center's current and upcoming initiatives and introduced Columbia Journalism School professor and investigative journalist Sheila Coronel, who moderated questions and answers with five key founders of the Vance Center, also honored at the event: former City Bar Presidents Michael Cooper and Evan Davis, outgoing City Bar Executive Director Barbara Berger Opotowsky, founding Vance Center Executive Director Joan Vermeulen, and Vance Center Vice-Chair Todd Crider on behalf of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett.

Copyright 2013. All Rights Reserved.

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