Phuong Nguyen Tue, Curriculum Development Project Manager, BABSEACLE

Continuing on from the success of the 1st Southeast Asia Pro Bono Conference last year in Laos, this year the conference will take place in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The conference/workshop will be held on the 11th and 12th of October 2013 at Hotel Majestic and at the University of Economics and Law (UEL) (our university partner.) The event will gather together more than 200 delegates including lawyers, lecturers, law students, government officials, judiciary, pro bono professionals, policy makers, civil society, non-profit representatives from around the world. The preparation process is well underway with lots of effort being put in to push things forward and make everything perfect for this landmark event.

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About the destination: Vietnam is a young market full of potential on its road to regional economic integration. Vietnam is a member of ASEAN, APEC and is now a negotiating member of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which has captured the world’s attention in recent years. Vietnam is currently carrying out many programmes including legal reforms and the training of high-level human resources (like international integrated lawyers) to meet with all of the requirements for international life.

Alongside the economic development to bring a better life to its people, Vietnam is emphasizing the importance of caring and giving legal assistance to the poor and disadvantaged communities. There is a new legal requirement underway for lawyers to provide a minimum of 10 days a year of free legal assistance to the community (pro bono work.) (According to the draft Decree detailing and guiding the implementation of the Law on Lawyers and the Law on the Amendment and Supplementation of the Law on Lawyers updated as of April 25th 2013.) This will soon be implemented. There is consequently a lot of buzz about pro bono work, making Vietnam the perfect location for the upcoming conference.

This 2nd Southeast Asia/Asia Pro Bono Conference/Workshop is perfectly matched with the progress of Vietnam. With its practical and specific approach, participants of the conference will be more aware of the methods and partnerships of pro bono organisations as well as real life examples and shared experiences of pro bono workers. They can then use this knowledge to design programmes of their own or find ways/means to perform outreach to disadvantaged communities upon their return from the workshop. At the end of the conference, organizers will produce a recommendation to Vietnam’s government suggesting solutions to some of the prevalent legal issues being faced in the region and to encourage a greater integration of pro bono work into the legal profession.

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This is also a chance for people coming from many different countries in the world to know more about Vietnam, not just information about the law and the businesses but also about the culture and lifestyle. Participants will be invited to participate in various interesting events being organised alongside the conference.

I hope that the Pro bono conference this week will be a success and welcome to Vietnam to all of the guests planning on attending! We look forward to seeing you.

For more information or to register for the 2nd Southeast Asia/Asia Pro Bono Conference in HCMC click here.