January 24 th, 2022 / Latin Lawyer and The Vance Center’s
Below we share an extract of the results of the Latin Lawyer and The Vance Center’s Annual Pro Bono Leading Lights 2021.
Here we celebrate “Leading Lights”, the law firms making a noteworthy contribution to strengthening Latin America’s pro bono culture.
By Fredrik Karlsson
Several factors played a role in drawing up this list. These include firms’ answers to the survey with regards to institutionalisation of the practice, work done and examples of their recent pro bono cases. We also asked for feedback from clearinghouses and the Vance Center and considered the development of firms’ pro bono practices if they participated in earlier surveys, as well as further research. The list includes behemoths of the regional legal community bringing significant resources to bear, and small firms from whom personal dedication can make a significant difference.
This is by no means an exhaustive list (for a start, it only mentions firms that participated in our survey) but we hope it will give readers an idea of the efforts that firms across Latin America are taking to provide free legal services to those in need.
Of course, it should be noted that simply participating in this survey demonstrates awareness among all participants of the need for pro bono, and each one had interesting developments to report. We hope that all respondents will continue to advance their pro bono practices and come back to us to report their efforts in the years to come.
The following firms are our
Participating Firms in Mexico
Thank you to all of this survey’s participating firms for helping us. Those firms that did not request anonymity are listed here.
Latin Lawyer and the Vance Center draw heavily on responses to the pro bono survey when compiling the list of Leading Lights, so only law firms that participated in the most recent survey are eligible. Firms are compared against others in their jurisdiction. In countries with functioning clearing houses at the time research was conducted (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela), firms are awarded up to 33 points based on their responses to the survey across the following categories: law firm’s pro bono infrastructure (18%), recognition of lawyers’ pro bono work (18%), pro bono work done (30%), support of clearing houses (33%). Clearinghouses are also given the opportunity to provide information on the firms they see supporting their organisation and doing a high level of pro bono work. In countries where there was no clearinghouse at the time of research (Bolivia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras and Panama) points are awarded between the first three categories (law firm’s pro bono infrastructure, recognition of lawyers’ pro bono work, pro bono work done). Those with the most points have a strong chance of being a Leading Light, depending on further considerations and taking into account comparisons within their jurisdiction.
Key trends from this year’s Latin Lawyer-Vance Center Pro Bono Survey.
According to our survey, lawyers dedicated more hours to pro bono work in 2020 than in previous years. By signing the Pro Bono Declaration for the Americas (PBDA), law firms pledge to complete at least 20 hours of pro bono work per lawyer each year. Firms have fallen noticeably short of that target in the past. However, the latest figures demonstrate how law offices are closing in on the target.
On average, firms provided 15.4 hours of pro bono assistance per partner in 2020. Back in 2016, law outfits were averaging a much reduced 11.5 hours per partner. The number of associates completing pro bono hours has risen too; in 2020, the average was 17.2 hours. That represents an approximate two-hour increase on 2016’s figure.