LAWFUEL – Press Release Service – Initial Projects for the Global Fund and UN Peacekeeping Mission in Kosovo Reach Completion; Firm Again Pledges $6 Million in 2006 to Fund “New Perimeter” Initiatives; Aggregate US Pro Bono Commitment to Exceed $30 Million
(WASHINGTON) May 22, 2006 – DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary US LLP today announced that New Perimeter, its nonprofit affiliate dedicated exclusively to international pro bono work, has completed its initial projects for the Global Fund and UN Peacekeeping Mission in Kosovo and has identified new priority areas for the program’s second year.
The announcement follows New Perimeter’s recent advisory board meeting held in Washington, D.C. to evaluate existing projects and prioritize current and future initiatives. New Perimeter was launched in February of 2005 to leverage the firm’s global network to provide legal support for projects of global concern including health care, hunger, law reform, human rights, housing and economic development.
Building upon these milestones, New Perimeter will continue to provide support to the Global Fund and Kosovo initiatives in 2006 while advancing the goals of new projects underway for the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALK), Global FoodBanking Network and CHF International. A summary of these new projects includes the following:
? SALC – DLA Piper attorneys are providing day-to-day, on-site counsel and representation to the Centre while also assisting in the establishment of an online library and the creation of a litigation manual on conducting constitutional and human rights litigation in Southern Africa.
? Global FoodBanking Network – New Perimeter is supporting the creation and operation of this multinational not-for-profit hunger relief organization focused on the development of national networks of food banks and the strengthening of international food banking. Initial efforts will be focused on the creation of food bank networks in Israel, Ghana and South Africa by providing corporate structuring, governance, transactional and tax advice. William Rudnick, a partner in DLA Piper’s Chicago office, recently returned from a trip to Ghana where he has begun work to establish a pilot food bank in that region.
? CHF International Microfinance Project – DLA Piper attorneys are working with CHF International, a leading economic development and lending organization focused on supporting community, habitat and finance initiatives around the globe. The firm is reviewing CHF’s organizational structure and exploring ways to generate sustainable funding for the growth of its 11 microfinance institutions. After extensive due diligence on this relatively new investment vehicle, DLA Piper attorneys met with a number of investment banks to better understand the potential role of microfinance in the capital markets.
“As an expanding global law firm, our responsibility to our communities across the globe exceeds the parameters of traditional legal pro bono work,” said Senator George J. Mitchell, chairman of DLA Piper. “Our lawyers embrace this responsibility and New Perimeter has allowed the firm to support and remedy some of the most complex global problems in areas of desperate need.”
Added retired Judge Patricia Wald, co-chair of the New Perimeter advisory board: “New Perimeter’s progress over the past year has surpassed all expectations by providing much-needed legal assistance to some of the most troubled regions in the world. Weaving meaningful pro bono work across a broad international platform is a very special undertaking for a law firm, and I’m pleased to be part of it.”
Generating Outcomes: The Global Fund and UN Peacekeeping Mission in Kosovo
Based on the various project milestones achieved in 2005, New Perimeter has taken on additional work in 2006 with the Global Fund and UN Peacekeeping Mission in Kosovo as both projects sought the continued assistance of DLA Piper attorneys to steer them through critical junctures in the coming year.
The firm’s attorneys assisted the Global Fund – which fights AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria in some of the world’s poorest countries – by establishing systems and processes to ensure the appropriate use of grant funding around the world. The firm assisted the fund in establishing its own Office of the Inspector General based in Geneva, Switzerland, and developed a whistleblower complaint reporting system to detect and deter the inappropriate use of grant funds around the world. DLA Piper attorneys are currently assisting the new Inspector General to initiate and conduct investigations and audits of fraud and other abuses, as well as support other risk management and policy development efforts.
At the request of the Department of Justice for the UN Peacekeeping Mission in Kosovo, DLA Piper attorneys worked closely with a Kosovar advisory group to successfully structure and draft new laws to introduce an independent judiciary and system of prosecution in Kosovo. DLA Piper was asked to undertake a second phase for this project to further advance the drafted legislation. The firm’s attorneys are now working with the interim government to approve the legislation they helped draft and provide technical assistance directly to the new Ministry of Justice regarding the implementation of these laws.
Extending the Commitment
For 2006, DLA Piper has again committed 13,000 attorney hours to New Perimeter initiatives, which has an approximate value of more than $6 million in billable time. This expands the firm’s support of New Perimeter to $12 million over a two-year time period. While there is no specific industry ranking for global pro bono work, that total represents the largest commitment by a law firm for globally coordinated pro bono services, according to American Lawyer’s most recent pro bono report.
Overall, the firm’s total 2006 pro bono commitment in the U.S. is approximately $30 million or over 100,000 hours.
“Our attorneys are excited about New Perimeter and its impressive achievements, but more importantly they recognize the need to lead and expand this offering,” said Lee I. Miller, joint chief executive officer of DLA Piper. “We will continue to commit the necessary financial and professional resources to maximize the reach and impact of this important initiative as it defines our core values and reinforces the strength of our global platform.”
“The early success of New Perimeter and the overwhelming response it has generated from our clients and the marketplace illustrates that this is more than just a novel concept,” said Sheldon Krantz, a DLA Piper partner and director of New Perimeter. “The initiative is providing measurable resources and solutions in an unprecedented fashion around the globe.”
Providing On-the-Ground Support
Early on, DLA Piper attorneys recognized the importance of providing on-site counsel and developed an infrastructure to allow the firm to allocate and rotate resources, as needed, for each New Perimeter project. For example, to support New Perimeter’s work for the SALC, the firm’s attorneys are working out of the firm’s Johannesburg office on three-month rotations that began in March 2006. Joshua Kolton, a partner in DLA Piper’s San Francisco office, is currently serving a three-month residency in Johannesburg.
For the Global Fund project, Ellen Ginsburg, an associate in DLA Piper’s Baltimore office, is spending three months in Geneva working at the Global Fund’s office to assist the organization’s legal department.
According to Esther F. Lardent, co-chair of the New Perimeter advisory board and president and CEO of the Pro Bono Institute, New Perimeter continues to ambitiously set the bar for nonprofit partnerships.
“This level of on-the-ground support and system of globally rotating resources is yet another example of what makes the firm’s approach to international pro bono work quite remarkable,” Lardent noted.
New Perimeter Advisory Board
New Perimeter’s advisory board, which is comprised of accomplished individuals with extensive experience in pro bono and international matters, includes the following:
? Sheldon Krantz
Krantz, the director of New Perimeter and a partner in DLA Piper’s Washington, D.C. office, has guided the firm’s pro bono activities for numerous years. He is a white collar defense litigator whose particular areas of focus include environmental law, health care, FDA, export controls, civil and criminal RICO, legal ethics, legal malpractice, corporate compliance programs, and federal sentencing guidelines. Krantz is a former chair of the Criminal Justice Section of the American Bar Association and he served as Dean of the University of San Diego Law School prior to joining the firm. In 2003, he was named the Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year by the D.C. bar.
? Retired Judge Patricia Wald, Co-Chair
Judge Wald served for 20 years on the D.C. Circuit, including a stint as the Chief Judge. She had a distinguished career prior to that time including serving as Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs during the Carter Administration. After leaving the federal bench, Judge Wald served for two years in The Hague as a judge of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. She is also a member of the board of the Open Society Institute’s Justice Initiative.
? Esther F. Lardent, Co-Chair
Lardent is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Pro Bono Institute, an organization that promotes pro bono service among law firms and the corporate community. She is considered to be the country’s leading expert on the pro bono concept and is regularly approached for advice from both the legal and corporate sectors. Lardent also serves as Chair of the ABA Commission on Immigration Policy, Practice and Pro Bono and previously served on the ABA’s Board of Governors, as Chair of its Consortium on Legal Services and the Public.
? Barbara Arnwine
Arnwine is the Executive Director of the National Office of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Before assuming this position, she was the Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law of the Boston Bar. She has become renowned for her work on passage of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1991. In 1995, Ms. Arnwine served as the National Convener of the National Conference on African American Women and the Law held in Washington and has led a delegation to the NGO Forum and Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing. She convened the third National Conference on African American Women and the Law in Washington in 2000. Arnwine was awarded the National Bar Association’s Equal Justice Award, the highest honor bestowed by that organization.
? Stephen B. Bright
Bright has served as the Director of the Southern Center for Human Rights since 1982. He also teaches regularly at the Yale and Harvard Law Schools, among others, and has taught a course on international human rights law at the Institute on World Legal Problems in Innsbruck, Austria. The Southern Center for Human Rights is a legendary public interest legal project based in Atlanta that provides legal representation to persons facing the death penalty and to prisoners challenging unconstitutional conditions in prisons and jails throughout the South. The Center is also engaged in efforts to improve access to lawyers and the legal system by poor people accused of crimes and in prison, and to bring about greater judicial independence. Bright has been the recipient of a number of awards, including the ABA’s Thurgood Marshall Award, presented at the 1998 ABA Annual Meeting.
? Mark S. Ellis
Ellis is the Executive Director of the International Bar Association (IBA). The IBA, which is located in London, is the leading international organization of bar associations and individual lawyers in the world, with 200 member organizations and 17,000 members from 194 countries. Prior to joining the IBA, Ellis spent 10 years as the first Executive Director of the ABA Central and East European Law Initiative (CEELI). CEELI provided technical assistance to 28 countries in Central Europe and the former Soviet Union and to the International War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague. Ellis served as the appointed Legal Advisor to the Independent International Commission on Kosovo, chaired by South African Justice Richard J. Goldstone. He is also a consultant to the World Bank on investment policies in Central and Eastern Europe.
? Robert H. Forney
Forney is President and CEO of America’s Second Harvest, the nation’s largest charitable domestic hunger-relief organization. America’s Second Harvest is a national network of more than 200 regional food banks and food-rescue organizations that provide more than $2.3 billion in food and grocery products to 50,000 local charitable agencies. These agencies operate more than 94,000 food programs including food pantries, soup kitchens, women’s shelters, Kids Cafes, Community Kitchens, and other local organizations that provide emergency food assistance to more than 23 million hungry Americans each year. Prior to joining America’s Second Harvest in June 2001, Forney served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Chicago Stock Exchange Inc.; Senior Vice President of Bricker & Associates, Inc.; President and Executive Officer of Fortex Technologies, Inc.; Senior Vice President, Technology Solutions Company; and Managing Partner (USA) and International Executive Director at KPMG Peat Marwick Advanced Technology.
? Professor Thomas F. Geraghty
Professor Geraghty is the Associate Dean for Clinical Education and Director of the Legal Clinic at Northwestern University School of Law. The clinic gives special emphasis to issues relating to children and family justice. In recent years, Professor Geraghty has worked in Tanzania. Uganda, and Malawi on research projects relating to juvenile justice, the legal problems of street children, the status of children orphaned by HIV/AIDS, women in the legal profession, and freedom of the press. He has also been involved in training African lawyers in trial advocacy skills in cooperation with the National Institute for Trial Advocacy.
? Alan Jenkins
Jenkins is the Executive Director of the Opportunity Agenda (OA), a new NGO that has been created to frame public debate on fundamental values of opportunity and human rights in the U.S. Prior to creating OA, Jenkins was the Director of Human Rights at the Ford Foundation. His previous positions include serving as Assistant to the Solicitor General at the U.S. Department of Justice, where he represented the federal government in litigation before the U.S. Supreme Court; Assistant Counsel to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, focusing on the civil rights of low-income people; and serving as law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun. Jenkins has also taught as an adjunct professor at Brooklyn Law School.
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