This month marks the seventh anniversary of the annual European Pro Bono Forum, organized by PILnet (the Global Network for Public Interest Law). Hosted this year in Warsaw, Poland, the Forum brings together several hundred leaders representing law firms, in-house legal departments, bar associations, nongovernmental organizations, and law schools from around the world to focus on a variety of European and global pro bono topics. We are particularly interested in hearing this year’s keynote speaker, Shirin Ebadi, co-founder of the Centre for Supporters of Human Rights and the Association for the Support of Children’s Rights, both in Iran. Ebadi received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003 for her work in championing human rights, particularly the rights of women, children, and political prisoners in Iran.
Workshop “streams” at the Forum consist of: Building Strong Pro Bono Foundations, Human Rights, Global Pro Bono, Pro Bono Frontiers, and a Pro Bono Lab. With sessions among such streams including LGBTI rights, women’s rights, business activity’s impact on human rights, access to justice and the internet, and pro bono in emerging economies, the PBEye anticipates a productive and engaging event.
As Forum organizers note, Poland is an inspiring location for this event due to a pro bono tradition that has “survived a history burdened by autocratic rule, communism, and other periods of social destabilization. Throughout, there have always been a few courageous lawyers who have embraced the duty to act on behalf of the public good.” Well said, and the PBEye celebrates the efforts underway to promote and institutionalize pro bono within the legal systems of Poland, Europe at large, and beyond.