In recent years, we have seen an increase in pro bono legal work as a response to the social responsibility we have as a sector, and to the multiple challenges and shortages facing our region.
In Mexico, we established a movement, a document and a commitment called "Estándares pro bono México", which establishes the foundation of pro bono and commits the legal community to carry out legal work for the benefit of the people and causes that need it most.
This pro bono work, therefore, has increased from law firms and lawyers that initiate and/or strengthen their pro bono practice; bar associations that promote pro bono work among their members; universities that promote pro bono conferences and motivate future professionals, in addition to strengthening and/or initiating free legal clinics; clearinghouses that strengthen their services; and companies that provide support through their in-house legal teams.
In our country, it is evident that there are both great challenges and opportunities due to the increase of social, environmental, violence and discrimination problems which cannot be solved by public policy. This means that lawyers must act together to face all these challenges. For example: we created a guide for those affected by the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic in collaboration with different law firms, lawyers and bar associations.
Furthermore, we must take into account that we are facing an extremely complicated time for NGOs, as laws have been strengthened and the organisations have little or no private or public support to cover the needs they require to develop their work. Therefore, pro bono lawyers have to expand their knowledge to support the legal needs of NGOs.
For me it has been an honour and a privilege to dedicate the last 12 years of my professional life to pro bono, where I find a space in which lawyers come together to solve enormous challenges, with a common goal that leads to solid objectives for the strengthening of the rule of law, access to justice and the culture of legality.
Pro bono work is an opportunity to help through our profession, and to learn and understand how we can make a difference in the lives of others by providing professional services to those who do not have access.
I invite you to think about how and from where you can make an impact with your profession, and for all of us to commit to an urgent response for the inclusive and sustainable planet we need.