Pro Bono Award

IBA Annual Pro Bono Award

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The IBA Pro Bono Committee awards its prestigious Pro Bono Award annually to lawyers who are leading our profession in building a pro bono culture. The award is free to enter and it is open to all lawyers, whether or not they are members of the IBA.

Application details

Each year, the IBA’s Pro Bono Committee honour a lawyer who has shown an outstanding commitment to pro bono work as part of their legal career.

The IBA Pro Bono Committee’s mission is to support the IBA in promoting pro bono work globally through implementation of the IBA Pro Bono Declaration and the exchange of information and the promotion of best practice. Pro bono work is a cornerstone of the legal profession, and the IBA Pro Bono Committee wants to help build a culture of pro bono work by lawyers, law firms and organisations of lawyers as a vehicle for access to justice where that right is not fully supported by legal aid.

LexisNexis is honoured to sponsor the IBA Pro Bono Committee Award and hopes the winner will accept the Award in person during the IBA’s Annual Conference LexisNexis sponsorship provides a contribution of $5,500 USD to their attendance.

The Annual Pro Bono Award’s first round of nominations has now closed. Please see the details of the shortlisted candidates below.
The 2017 winner will be announced at the IBA Annual Conference in Sydney, 08-13 October.

Shortlisted candidates 2017

Anna Higuera, Fernando Pombo Foundation

Combining her role as a law professor with that of Pro Bono Director for the Clearing House, the first in Spain, established by the Fernando Pombo Foundation, Anna has a vision to involve greater numbers of lawyers and students in the human rights movement, which she is pursuing through pro bono work (promoted through the Clearing House), law clinics (through co-ordination of the FPF Multiplicate programme) and the use of the law to balance social needs. She also produces guides on relevant topics for pro bono lawyers and has championed major legislative reform relating to the care of sick children.

Balazs Sahin-Toth, Allen & Overy Budapest

Balazs has been a leader in developing a pro bono culture in Hungary. He has been involved in a wide and diverse range of pro bono activities as a trustee for PILnet, advising a range of NGOs, teaching at ELTE civil law department and conducting strategic litigation relating to Roma rights, including obtaining a landmark ruling against illegal school segregation. He is also working with a range of professionals on an award winning, Roma employment and immigration integration programme in Hungary.

Delvin Sumo, DIFC Dispute Resolution Authority Academy of Law

In addition to promoting and expanding the Pro Bono Programme at the Dubai International Finance Centre's Academy of Law, Delvin is working to develop pro bono initiatives beyond the DIFC in other parts of the U.A.E. through, e.g., liaising with relevant Government entities and conducting schemes in labour camps across the U.A.E.

Juan Najera, NDA Nájera Danieli & Asocs

Juan has demonstrated a long-standing commitment to judicial and law reform and a dedication to pro bono causes in Mexico. He has achieved significant benefit for communities as well as a wide spectrum of individuals, especially through promoting collaboration between key organisations at national and international level, in such diverse fields as migrant protection, access to public services for children lacking necessary identity documentation and forest protection. A number of the developments he has supported in Mexico are now being replicated in other countries.

Manuel Granados C., Mexico City’s Government

Manuel has designed and fostered an innovative programme in Mexico City, 'Lawyers at your Home', involving 'brigades' of volunteer lawyers visiting impoverished neighbourhoods, or responding to a toll-free hotline, to provide basic legal services to communities who would otherwise have no access to advice or the ability to obtain relevant documentation to support their identity, family and property rights. The programme is now being replicated in other jurisdictions.

Roberth Puertas, Fundación Fabián Ponce Ordóñez

Roberth has led the Fabian Ponce Ordonez Foundation in Ecuador for the last 24 years. In that time he has introduced a number of initiatives, including an inter-disciplinary approach to pro bono, especially in relation to domestic violence cases, which has helped 1000s of victims, and a successful mediation centre. He has also assisted a number of the major NGOs operating across Ecuador and championed reform programmes leading to significant legislative change, concerning, e.g., mediation and child protection, and the creation of a government institution to protect citizens' rights.

Suhaan Mukerji, PLR Chambers

Mr Mukerji has been described as a pioneer in institutionalizing pro bono as a practice in India. He has been particularly involved in assisting significant legislative reform in the field of countering human trafficking and has worked with a number of not for profit organisations and social entrepreneurs, assisting them with key aspects (such as institutional formation, regulation and compliance) in the development of innovative solutions to social problems, such as sustainable rainwater harvesting and in the field of healthcare. A number of these projects have served as models for similar approaches in other parts of India.

Previous Winners

Congratulations to Odette Geldenhuys, winner of the 2016 Pro Bono Award!

Congratulations to Marcos Fuchs, winner of the 2015 Pro Bono Award!


Congratulations to Nick Paul, winner of the 2014 Pro Bono Award!


Congratulations to Susan Finegan, winner of the 2013 Pro Bono Award!