The Pro Bono services, understood as voluntary work done by legal professionals, are considered part of the world of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). The difference between the other volunteer work is that this practice gives professionals the opportunity to help those who are in need with the knowledge they already have. Several law firms lead this way of providing legal services to the community of no economic resources.
Rafael Quirós, founding partner of CENTRAL LAW, emphasizes that companies win because their employees are aware of the care that must be taken in the environment that surrounds them. “By applying these programs, the company joins a general commitment sharing responsibility among the society we live in.”
The work that distinguishes them as pioneers in the region in the subjects of CSR is precisely that: to ensure the awareness of all its collaborators on the support provided with clear rules and giving back. “It’s a specialized work to help the neediest from our position as lawyers of a regional firm.”
The firm was recognized locally and regionally wide for its dedication and efforts on Pro bono work.
In Costa Rica, CENTRAL LAW won a prize for Pro Bono work that was granted by the country’s Bar Association, especially for the support provided to organizations that help children. In Honduras CENTRAL LAW has been recognized as a “Leading Light” in pro bono work since 2011, a recognition granted by Latin Lawyer and the Cyrus R. Vance Center of New York, an entity dedicated to promoting global justice through the participation of committed lawyers socially.
In CENTRAL LAW the different offices are committed to various initiatives. In Central America and the Dominican Republic, the firm has collaborated in the analysis of the laws that protect coral reefs in Central America and the Caribbean. It was the only regional firm to participate in the project of the defamation legislation regarding journalists and it was led by the Thomson Reuters foundation and an international law firm, work that received a recognition from the organizers.
Currently the firm is in negotiations with a large-scale regional project led by an international organism that seeks to protect people’s property rights.
For Rafael Quirós, companies are becoming more aware that by having CSR programs they become more remarkable and creative and he emphasizes that there is a great initiative and enthusiasm for young lawyers which are involved in this type of work. It also explains that pro bono services should be understood with the same quality and precision as any other service provided to customers and that in order to contribute to the institutionalization of pro bono work within a company and/or law firm, it is essential to have rules about the service. At CENTRAL LAW, they have developed an internal understanding user manual to assist in pro bono work. Regional coordination exists between the Executive Director and a partner in each office as a responsible for pro bono issues and the entity requesting assistance.