The legal profession is both a business and a calling. While popular stereotypes of lawyers readily conjure up images of the former, understanding of the latter is more elusive. While it is true that legal practice has been known to provide material benefits to some who practice law to obtain them, something a bit less tangible and far more noble draws a significant number of us to study and to practice law, namely, the desire to advocate on behalf of those in need to change bad situations for the better, whether in a single client’s life or in the world at large. As with so many of life’s dreamers, legal professionals often begin their careers with the best intentions, but lose sight of their noble goals amid the challenges life presents along the way.
But wait. What if it were possible for those who have legal training, legal experience, and a heart to make positive change to put their legal talents to meaningful use in parts of the world where they are needed most, whether near or far, and whether as practicing lawyers or other legal professionals, law students, law professors, or even former lawyers who retired or left the practice of law to raise families? Realizing the powerful implications of the answer to this question is the purpose and the promise of The Global Pro Bono Bar Association (“The Global Pro Bono Bar”). The Global Pro Bono Bar is about working to channel pools of good will and excess legal capacity that often lay waste in globalization’s legal landscape into transnational pipelines, supporting local advocates struggling to do good in areas thirsty for public interest legal support around the globe. At the same time, it is also about reclaiming the noble dreams of those who once came to the law to make a difference, making it possible for them to rediscover their own wells in the desert.
The inequalities of globalization need not be perpetuated by the separations of national legal systems. Rather, the power of globalization and new technologies can be harnessed in the provision of public interest legal services to effect tangible, scalable, and meaningful change in local communities in dire need of legal support around the world. Some of us, as international lawyers, have seen first-hand the potential for privileged and multinational clients to overcome legal challenges to doing business across and beyond national borders, often through the collaborative efforts of strategic counsel and local partners. We have also seen the potential of pro bono legal initiatives in the private sector to touch lives, including in the transnational fight against human trafficking, as we have developed such projects across four continents in collaboration with local teams of civil society organizations around the world.
Still, there is so much more that could be done. The Global Pro Bono Bar is our answer to the question of what is possible as well as your invitation to get involved. Together, our vision is to empower individual advocates of conscience around the world to work together to realize universal human rights, human dignity, and critical public interest advocacy in areas of broad moral consensus. In order to support those negatively impacted by or forgotten in globalization, we transfer the capacity for high-quality, impactful, and meaningful engagement from areas of overabundance to areas of need.
The Global Pro Bono Bar is more than an association: it is a movement of legal professionals and others joining together to touch lives and make a difference where help is needed around the world.
Click the link above to Take Action and find out how you can join us in doing this important work today.