ILBF and pro bono opportunities for in-house lawyers

In-house legal teams do not get the chance to take part in pro bono initiatives as often as lawyers working in private practice. The ILBF has worked closely with the in-house team at Anglo American and De Beers for the last two years, which has been hugely beneficial to both organisations. Cecilia Ferreira, Legal Principal M&A at Anglo American, and Kimberly Sharp, Legal Specialist – IP and Commercial at Anglo American, talk about what supporting the ILBF means to them.

Our project for Ambassadors for Good, is a partnership between the ILBF and Anglo American, which pairs a shared interest in growing the rule of law in developing countries with a unique opportunity to link Anglo’s contacts around the world. The project focuses on packing second-hand, donated legal textbooks for communities where Anglo has a footprint and can provide on the ground support.

As a result of this partnership, in 2018-2019 the team shipped over 250 boxes of legal text, reference and case books to Zimbabwe for distribution to the Legal Resources Foundation, Midland State University, the Great University and the Women’s University in Africa. In 2019, 234 boxes of books were shipped in conjunction with the De Beers and Gemfair operations to Njala University and Makeni University in Sierra Leone. For the rest of 2020, we will be focusing on shipping books to communities in Zambia, Brazil and Chile.

‘Coming from a large US law firm and having recently joined Anglo, this has been a unique opportunity. In law firms, there are structured pro bono programmes but your role is often limited to advising the organisation involved on the necessary contracts and you rarely see all the different steps along the way. In this programme, we get to be involved at every level and really see the project come to life. It’s a way to directly give back to communities that have the desire to bring about change in their countries, but do not have the tools to do so. Access to legal textbooks is something we take for granted, but this is not a reality for many legal practitioners. As part of the legal team at Anglo and having grown up in South Africa, providing this kind of support to organisations and countries in need is particularly close to my heart and making these kinds of resources available empowers individuals and communities on many levels. I believe that promoting the rule of law is a fundamental building block to protecting human rights and Anglo is uniquely positioned to assist given its presence in many of these countries.’

Kimberly Sharp, Legal Specialist – IP and Commercial at Anglo American

‘One of the things I thought I would miss when I moved in-house, was the opportunity to engage in pro-bono work, but the Ambassadors for Good Program has given me the opportunity to choose what type of pro bono work I do, and have a say in the way the project was developed and structured. It has been great to see this project develop from its initial stages to what it is today, and it has been great to hear from the recipients of the books. Separately, working with Katrina over the years has been inspiring, as she is someone who genuinely cares about promoting the rule of law and works really hard to do what she can to promote the rule of law in places where it is necessary. Katrina has been full of smart ideas on what Anglo can do to help, and she has connected us with interesting people that are doing a lot for the rule of law.’

Cecilia Ferreira, Legal Principal M&A at Anglo American

We are looking forward to working on this year’s project and to our continued partnership with the ILBF.