With less than two months to go until the 4th Asia Pro Bono Conference and Legal Ethics Forum things are getting very exciting.  The programme is filling up fast with speakers from all over Myanmar, the region and the world. Participants are registering from all corners of the globe and the Conference Consortium is working around the clock to ensure that this year’s event is as successful as those in previous years. Here in Myanmar the local organizing committee, the university law departments, local and international law firms and others within the legal profession are thrilled to have this opportunity to host such an important international event and have the opportunity to share and learn about pro bono practices, and means to increase access to justice, from all over the world.  This year we are expecting more than 500 participants, from Myanmar and around the globe, to attend the conference, making it the largest conference to date.


One of the key strengthens of the conference is that it is organized and developed by an international consortium, which began in 2012 when the first Annual Asia Regional Pro Bono Conference was held in Laos. The International Consortium, and it supporting partner, is comprised of law firms, law societies, legal education institutions, access to justice related organizations and others. Each year the Consortium chooses an appropriate and committed partner to host the event. After being hosted, 2012 in Laos, 2013 in Vietnam and 2014 in Singapore, this year’s Conference, the ‘4th Asia Pro Bono Conference and Legal Ethics Forum’, will be hosted and collaboratively organized by Mandalay University, Mandalay University of Distance Education and Yadanabon University, in Mandalay, Myanmar.

The primary objective of the Conference is to support the development of socially aware, ethical lawyers and non-lawyers to actively participate, advocate and lead pro bono initiatives as a means to strengthen access to justice. Therefore, the targeted participants are lawyers, judges, legal educators, students, corporations, governmental officers, international NGO representatives, and members of local civil society organizations. We believe that the event will provide a unique opportunity to foster collaborative partnerships, locally, regionally and internationally and allow participants to consider topics such as how to develop and manage pro bono partnerships; and how to instill an ethic of pro bono amongst future leaders.

The theme of this year’s Conference is “Pro Bono and Ethics Build a Noble Legal Profession” and it will expand on the amazing work successfully achieved at the past three events. This year, and year’s going forward, there will be a day specifically dedicated to legal ethics and professional responsibility and its intersection with the pro bono movement. Of course, other days and sessions will include the mainstreaming of legal ethics and professional responsibility but this event will also include a core focus of this intersection on Day 4.  Furthermore, building on the success of the last three years, Day 3 of the Conference will have an entire day devoted to Pro Bono and Legal Education. In doing all this the Consortium sees this year’s event as a genuine catalyst for pro bono opportunities, legal education reform and access to justice improvements.

With the vast number of participants, and the various perspectives that these participants will bring to the event, there has been much work to do, in order to prepare for the conference. Currently, BABSEACLE’s team is working closely with the Consortium, the local organizing committee and local organizers (Mandalay University, Mandalay University of Distance Education, and Yadanabon University) to ensure the Conference’s success. One of those important tasks is to call for support from various law firms, corporations and individuals. Such support is invaluable for the success of the event, because it will allow the attendance of individuals, such as law students, lawyers, law teachers, who otherwise could not afford to travel to the Conference site.  This support will be a strong demonstration of the stability of pro bono, through the People, Private and Public Collective Impact approach, in which sponsors will receive recognition and appreciation for fulfilling their social responsibility.  If you are able to support the event please see the website for further information.

We are confident that this year’s event will be both successful and also incredibly significant for the people of Myanmar where the understanding of pro bono, and its significance, is still in its early years. We are also confident it will significantly and positively impact all others  who will attend. Don’t miss your opportunity to be part of this unique and inspirational global pro bono movement and register now.

 We look forward to see you all there!!

By Lauren Donnison, Pro Bono Initiatives and Externship Coordinator, Bridges Across Borders South East Asia community Legal Education Initiative (BABSEACLE)