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Latin Lawyer destaca trabalho do Instituto Pro Bono


A instituição interncional destacou o trabalho do Instituto, mencionando nosso trabalho como clearinghouse e nas audiências de custódia, em parceria com os escritórios Mattos Filho e Siqueira Castro, além de nossos parceiros Amicus. O IPB participará da 12ª Cerimônia Anual de Premiação de Instituições Beneficentes (12th annual charity awards ceremony), organizada pela Latin Lawyer. Confira a matéria na íntegra:


Pro bono profile: Brazil’s Instituto Pro Bono


por Lucas Bulcao Pinheiro


One day every week lawyers at some of Brazil’s top firms stop working on their financial transactions or M&A deals and plunge into a very different side of Brazilian life. “They take off their ties and suits and go to the outskirts of São Paulo to provide legal services to a woman who has been beaten by her husband, or to a mother whose child has committed a crime and will be sent to a young offenders’ institution,” say Marcos Fuchs, IBP’s president.


 This is perhaps the most hands-on activity promoted by Brazil’s first and most important clearing house. Since May 2014, the IBP has acted as conduit for free legal support to the poorest areas of Brazil’s biggest city. Its efforts put lawyers in touch with a range of matters which are not part of their daily routines, such as housing issues, young people in situations of risk and labour-related disputes.


 The IPB also provides legal defence to people who have been arrested at the scene of the crime. “Lawyers from firms such as Mattos Filho and Siqueira Castro come with us,” says Fuchs. “They go there and talk directly with the person who in many occasions is still handcuffed and sitting at the back of a Arquivo Siqueira Castro - Advogados police vehicle,” he explains, adding that the lawyers interview the suspect and prepare them for their hearing so they can have a fair trial.


Pro bono work of this kind is relatively new in Brazil. This is because before 2015 the bar association did not allow the practice. As a result, only public officials and the bar associations could provide free assistance to people in need. The IBP, which was created in 2002, campaigned for 13 years until the bar changed its position and allowed law firms and independent practitioners to provide free legal aid as well. This has provided pro bono work with a considerable boost in Brazil. However, Fuchs says the reluctance of the bar association to liberalise the practice has delayed its development in comparison to other Latin American countries, such as Argentina, Chile and Colombia. He adds that the whole region should be inspired by the example of the US, where firms have entire departments fully dedicated to pro bono and demand a percentage of pro bono work from all their lawyers.


 Still, pro bono work is progressing quickly in Brazil with big firms now taking on the practice. “Even the market is changing – it makes a great difference now that clients are demanding social responsibility initiatives from their service providers,” adds Fuchs.


One especially promising example comes from elite firm Mattos Filho, Veiga Filho, Marrey Jr e Quiroga Advogados which recently launched a dedicated pro bono department. “This is a firm that is taking pro bono activity seriously and which has a partner overseeing the area,” says Fuchs, who believes it provides a good example for others to follow “It is easier when the big firms take the initiative and invest.”

The IPB today has 60 member firms with more than 2000 lawyers. Ten firms – BMA - Barbosa, Müssnich, Aragão, Pinheiro Neto Advogados, Mattos Filho, Veiga Filho, Marrey Jr e Quiroga Advogados, Siqueira Castro Advogados, Tauil & Chequer Advogados in association with Mayer Brown, Demarest Advogados, Lefosse Advogados, Machado Meyer Advogados, TozziniFreire Advogados and Trench, Rossi e Watanabe Advogados – provide regular financial suport. Other activities developed by IBP include pro bono advocacy, research and the promotion of citizen’s rights.

Amicus Pro Bono