Italian Pro Bono Roundtable

22 February 2016

Italian Pro Bono Roundtable

In April 2014, PILnet started the Italian Pro Bono Roundtable to create new public space where lawyers, law firms, and companies can interact and cooperate with Italian NGOs and civil society. We have held 19 Roundtable meetings to date. The Roundtable has provided space for 26 Italian NGOs to present their work, discuss strategies and engage lawyers and law firms in cooperation on pro bono basis. We are continuing the roundtable project with meetings 2017.

Upcoming Meetings: The 20th Italian Pro Bono Roundtable

 

The 20th Italian Pro Bono Roundtable will take place on 17 May 2017 in Milan, Italy. It will be hosted by Linklaters. The address is: 

Studio Legale Associato in association with Linklaters LLP
Via Broletto 9
20121 Milan
Italy

Please note that the Roundtable will start at 1:00 pm CET and will end at 3:00 pm CET. 


It is important that you confirm your presence using this link (until 12 May!):https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/preview?eid=33144110928

 

 

Italian Pro Bono Definition

The following definition of pro bono has been drafted and adopted by the Italian Pro Bono Roundtable to clarify what pro bono means in the local context and to guide the work of the Roundtable. Click here to download a PDF version of the definition

Premessa

Il termine ‘Pro Bono’ deriva dalla frase in Latino “pro bono publico” che vuole significare, attività resa per il bene pubblico.

Vi sono differenti definizioni di Pro Bono, che dipendono dalla storia e dal sistema giuridico di ciascun paese e dalle norme deontologiche cui sono soggetti gli scritti alla professione legale, e secondo i compiti che si prefiggono le organizzazioni che promuovono servizi legali nell’interesse pubblico per chi è bisognoso.

Il nostro intento non è quello di trovare una definizione di Pro Bono che possa essere universalmente accettata, ma riteniamo utile descrivere gli scopi e i limiti dell’attività legale che gli avvocati italiani, iscritti negli ordini professionali, possono decidere volontariamente di perseguire, individualmente o in forma associata, a beneficio di enti meritevoli di ricevere supporto legale o di persone che non possono permettersi di pagare l’assistenza legale o non abbiano diritto al patrocinio gratuito.

Tale attività, che consideriamo compresa nella definizione di Pro Bono che PILnet appoggia, si vuole che escluda qualunque assistenza legale fornita da un avvocato a fini di lucro, come qualunque prestazione resa ai sensi delle norme sul gratuito patrocinio che assicurano accesso alla giustizia, e non deve essere confusa con i servizi di beneficienza in genere, sponsorizzazione, raccolta fondi per o sostegno finanziario a organizzazioni che forniscono servizi legali a persone con mezzi limitati.

Definizione

Con attività Pro Bono s’intende la prestazione lavorativa strettamente volontaria, resa non a fini di lucro ma gratuitamente, che un avvocato svolge facendo affidamento sulle sue capacità professionali, su base non discriminatoria, e sotto la sua valutazione e responsabilità personale, in ottemperanza, tra gli altri, delle leggi, regolamenti e norme deontologiche applicabili che disciplinano lo svolgimento dell’assistenza e consulenza legale e la rappresentanza in giudizio, a favore di:

  • Organizzazioni non lucrative, opere pie, organizzazioni non governative, centri sociali ed enti pubblici o privati che hanno come finalità:
    • l’assistenza alle persone in ambito sanitario, sociale, ambientale o culturale; oppure
    • garantire l’accesso alla giustizia; oppure
    • il progresso del bene pubblico in generale; e

  • Soggetti svantaggiati che:
    • non hanno mezzi economici sufficienti per pagare i normali onorari necessari ad ottenere il livello di assistenza legale indipendente e senza compromessi del quale hanno bisogno; oppure
    • non soddisfano i requisiti per avvalersi del patrocinio gratuito, o comunque non hanno modo di adire tribunali o avere accesso alla giustizia.

Dal carattere gratuito della prestazione Pro Bono consegue che ai clienti non viene addebitata parcella per i compensi degli avvocati, così come le spese ordinarie (come ad es., fotocopie, fax, telefonate e corrispondenza postale) sostenute nel corso della prestazione professionale resa, ad eccezione delle spese straordinarie (come ad es., spese di viaggio, corrieri espressi o mezzi di indagine e ricerca), che saranno sostenute dai legali con il preventivo assenso del cliente.

 

 

 

 

 

Premise

The term ‘Pro Bono’ originates from the Latin phrase “pro bono publico” which means, activity carried out for the public good.

There are different definitions of Pro Bono, depending on each country’s history and legal system and the bar rules applicable to the members of the legal profession, as well as the aims of the organizations that are promoting public interest legal work for those in need.

While it is not our scope to find a definition of Pro Bono that can be universally accepted, we deemed helpful to describe the purpose and boundaries of certain legal activity which Italian lawyers, members of the local Bars, may voluntarily decide to carry out, as a sole practitioner or in associated form, for the benefit of entities worth receiving legal support or individuals that cannot afford paying for their legal assistance or may not be eligible receiving legal aid.

This activity, which we will consider falling under the definition of Pro Bono supported by PILnet, is to be intended to exclude any legal assistance provided by a lawyer for profit, any activity already regulated by applicable laws and falling under a governmental system of “legal aid” granting access to justice, and shall not be confused with any generic charitable service, sponsorship, funding or financial support to organizations that provide legal services to persons of limited means.

Definition

Pro Bono activity shall mean the strictly voluntary, not for profit and gratuitous professional activity that a lawyer undertakes resorting on his/her legal skills, on a non discriminatory basis, but under his/her personal judgment and responsibility, and in compliance with, inter alia, the applicable laws, regulations and bar rules governing the performance of legal advice, assistance and/or representation, in favor of:

  • Non-profit organizations, charitable entities, non-governmental organizations, community centers and private or public entities having as purpose:
    • the pursue of health, social, environmental or cultural assistance to the people; or
    • ensuring access to justice; or
    • the benefit of the public good in general; and

  • Disadvantaged individuals that:
    • have no sufficient economic means to pay the customary fees for independent and uncompromised quality legal assistance they may be in need of; or
    • have no access to legal aid or to the courts and the legal system.

The gratuitous character of the Pro Bono activity means that clients are not charged the lawyers’ fees, as well as the ordinary expenses (e.g., photocopying, fax, telephone and mail) incurred for the performance of the professional activity required, except for any extraordinary costs (e.g., travel expenses, express couriers and legal investigation or search tools), which are incurred by the lawyers with the prior consent of the client.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Italian Pro Bono Distribution List

 

Previous Meetings

Roundtable Participants: Law Firms and Lawyers

Roundtable Participants: NGOs

About PILnet

PILnet envisions a world where law delivers justice. We connect and equip lawyers to protect human rights, advance social justice and defend the most vulnerable. PILnet has two core strategies: training, supporting and collaborating with public interest lawyers on a global scale and strengthening the global pro bono community. Our approach is to connect and collaborate with partners to create globally-available resources that make local public advocacy more effective. While PILnet’s reach is worldwide, our innovating strategies are driven by local actors.

Strengthening Public Interest Lawyers

PILnet strengthens the effectiveness of public interest lawyers around the world through fellowships, training programs and other special initiatives. We provide unique connections andresources to global networks of like-minded advocates. For example, our international Fellows program has transformed the lives and careers of more than 100 leading public interest lawyers from 36 countries. Our Fellows work on a wide range of issues from protecting economic and social rights, to addressing climate change, LGBTI rights and human trafficking.

Building the Global Pro Bono Community

PILnet is leading the way in a global effort to build pro bono communities locally in order to strengthen civil society and ensure access to justice. PILnet has linked together a global network of pro bono clearinghouses – including its own pioneering initiatives in Asia, Europe and West Africa – which connect law firms and corporations as pro bono service providers with NGOs and individuals in need of legal assistance. Further, PILnet widens and deepens the global pro bono community through convening annual Pro Bono Forums in Europe and Asia bringing together the key actors in those regions. As global pro bono culture grows around the world, PILnet is creating resources that make local advocacy more effective.

 

 

PILnet’s Pro Bono Achievements

Mobilizing pro bono resources in response to societal challenges is one of PILnet’s core strategies for expanding justice and the rule of law. This is especially true in times when we face challenges that threaten the very core of who we are as society. In 2015, the refugee and migrant crisis has accelerated the need and urgency for pro bono legal assistance across Europe and beyond. How we, as an organization, respond to these calls has the potential to define us, and the wider pro bono community, for years to come.

In 2015, PILnet’s Hungarian Clearinghouse partnered with Migration Aid and other communitybased initiatives and NGOs to provide pro bono assistance to migrants and refugees in Budapest and across the country. Our Global Clearinghouse brokered pro bono support for NGOs and asylum seekers in Italy and beyond. Meanwhile, the Global Clearinghouse team reimagined the 2015 European Pro Bono Forum to include a Europe-wide discussion on how pro bono can help alleviate the crisis and aid NGOs in their humanitarian efforts.

While—like many organizations—we have had to react to these extraordinary times, our work expanding and growing pro bono culture in Europe and around the world continued unabated. In 2015 alone, our Clearinghouses in Hungary, Russian and Hong Kong as well as our Global Clearinghouse matched lawyers with 173 NGOs from 20 countries. These pro bono services addressed a wide variety of needs, including some of Europe’s most critical human rights issues. For example, our Global Clearinghouse sourced pro bono lawyers to monitor the trials of persecuted human rights defenders in Azerbaijan and to provide pro bono advice to help draft Slovenia's first law on legal gender recognition.

In addition, by working with partner clearinghouses in over 30 European countries, PILnetcontinued to strengthen pro bono infrastructures. In 2015, we organized local pro bono roundtables that resulted in the creation of two new partner clearinghouses in Italy. Similarly, with our support, the roundtables in the Netherlands and Belgium have ramped up their pro bono engagement.

Meanwhile, the growth of pro bono in Asia is continuing to gather pace.In 2015 the Asia Pro Bono Forum moved to Thailand, attracting over 200 participants from over 20 different countries. The 2015 agenda that drew on the richness of the regional context, sparked pro bono discussions amongst Thai law firms and policy makers and helped civil society explore the benefits of pro bono, especially in cross-border issues like migration and anti-trafficking.

Despite being one of our newest programs, our Hong Kong Clearinghouse is now the leadingplatform connecting NGOs with lawyers and law students who wish to pursue pro bono avenues. As of September 2015 it has helped over 55 charities and social enterprises, providing first-class assistance across the legal spectrum.

As an important development in our efforts to expand the pro bono culture and opportunities within Asia, PILnet supported the establishment of three pro bono clearinghouses in Mainland China. Zhicheng in Beijing; For NGO in Shanghai; and Wider Access to Justice in Shenzhen have already made significant progress during their short periods of operation, offering a range of legal support for local NGOs, individuals and communities.

PILnet is exceptionally proud of this work and the expansion of pro bono culture in Europe and abroad since the inaugural European Pro Bono Forum in 2007. This is why, after more than eight years of successful pro bono operation in Russia, PILnet is gearing up to stage our first Russian Pro Bono conference in the spring of 2016. The conference is designed to celebrate the pro bono movement in Moscow and St Petersburg, reflect on its evolution in the region, and act as a catalyst for new developments across other cities within the region. We look forward to supporting and growing each new pro bono community as they expand justice and the rule of law.

 

 

 

 

 

 

European Pro Bono Forum