Lex Mundi Pro Bono Foundation Welcomes New Managing Director
The Lex Mundi Pro Bono Foundation is pleased to welcome Isis Bous as its new Managing Director. She comes to the Foundation with over a decade of experience at law firms and in-house, as well as with her own enterprise and mentoring social entrepreneurs. You can read more about Ms. Bous’ experience, here.
The Foundation staff recently attended the Lex Mundi North America Regional Conference in Houston which offered a great opportunity to highlight the Foundation’s impact – serving more than 600 social entrepreneur clients with the help of 95 Lex Mundi member law firms – and to hear from an inspiring social entrepreneur, Rafael Alvarez, who talked about how his organization, Genesys Works, has grown rapidly with the help of pro bono legal assistance.
A special thanks to host firm, Baker Botts, for inviting us to their office to meet the firm’s Pro Bono Committee to discuss our mission and hear about their impressive pro bono efforts.
Member Firm Profile: Womble Bond Dickinson Demonstrates a Strong Commitment to Lex Mundi Pro Bono Foundation Clients
The Foundation has always counted Lex Mundi member firm Womble Bond Dickinson as one of our greatest supporters. 2017 proved to be no exception with the firm enthusiastically supporting 10 social entrepreneurs! While Womble is the Lex Mundi member firm for USA, North Carolina, the firm has been matched with social entrepreneurs with operations in several U.S. states as well as three countries across the world.
Womble’s impressive commitment to providing high quality pro bono assistance to help social enterprises scale their impact demonstrates how one law firm can use its time and expertise to truly have both a local and global impact. In the past year alone, Womble’s pro bono work for Lex Mundi Pro Bono Foundation clients has included unique legal projects ranging from advising on early-stage entity formation questions for National Geographic photographer, Reza Deghati, who started an organization to teach photography to refugee children, to reviewing and restructuring the governance of a Guatemala-based social entrepreneurship accelerator.
In many cases, these pro bono matches have led to continued relationships and ongoing legal support. Additionally, the firm has assisted the Foundation itself as part of our board leadership and through production of legal guidance documents that we share with our clients to help them be better educated on a number of legal issues.
“The Lex Mundi Pro Bono Foundation, and the social entrepreneur clients it serves, do impactful, life-changing work for some of the world’s most vulnerable citizens, and we at Womble Bond Dickinson are proud to support those efforts,” said Mark Desgrosseilliers, Chair of the firm’s Pro Bono Committee. “Our firm has enjoyed a close bond with the Lex Mundi Pro Bono Foundation for years and we’re always prepared to lend a hand whenever the Foundation needs us.”
“Womble has been an incredible source of support to our social entrepreneur clients this past year,” said Andrew Morgan, Legal Program Director at the Foundation. “Mark and his colleagues throughout the firm never cease to impress me with their commitment to our matters as well as pro bono efforts more generally.”
Member Firm Profile: Bowmans Provides Local Insight and Ongoing Pro Bono Legal Support in East Africa
Bowmans, the Lex Mundi member firm for South Africa, is an instrumental partner in East Africa for the Lex Mundi Pro Bono Foundation and its clients. In the last six months of 2017 alone, Bowmans has provided pro bono assistance to five separate social enterprises operating in two countries to help them scale their impact in the region. Bowmans’ pro bono work for Lex Mundi Pro Bono Foundation clients has included:
- Echo Mobile (Kenya) – Reviewing founding governance documents for social enterprise in Kenya that uses cutting edge mobile technology to measure impact.
- Komaza (Kenya) – Advising innovative forestry initiative in Kenya on culturally appropriate contacts with small-holder farmers in rural Kenya.
- Landesa (Tanzania) – Providing consultation on local employment laws related to hiring local professionals for U.S. land-rights NGO.
- Trees for the Future (Tanzania) – Assisting with an employment matter for the Tanzania office of a U.S. NGO working on revitalization of degraded farming land.
- Peacemaker Corps (Kenya) – Contract review for a partnership with a Kenyan University to set up a film studio to train and mentor students.
These pro bono legal matters have led to longstanding and successful working relationships and clearly demonstrate the ways in which effective legal support can facilitate social change. Fatima Laher, the Pro Bono Manager for Bowmans, has spearheaded the firm’s commitment to these clients with varying substantive legal issue areas as well as impact models.
When asked about the firm’s strong commitment to pro bono work and work with the Lex Mundi Pro Bono Foundation, Laher says, “Bowmans is a Pan-African law firm so the continent is our home. We are fully committed to servicing the communities within with which we operate on a pro bono basis. We enjoy a successful collaboration with the Lex Mundi Pro Bono Foundation and look forward to continuing our work with the Foundation”.
The Foundation greatly appreciates Bowmans’ generous support of our clients in sub-Saharan Africa. The firm is playing an integral role in ensuring the success of many high-impact enterprises in the region.