Probono.es is meant to redirect the practice of probono in Spain to enhance legal education. From Probono.es we are summoning all education-loving lawyers and asking them to visit High schools, so they can talk to the students about the Spanish Constitution, the democratic principles that underpin it and the human rights it protects.
We know this is an alternative view to classic probono definition but there is a reason why we have decided to commit probono.es to education. In Spain, unlike other countries, probono services are not substantial for accessing justice, since there is a public service that grants resourceless citizens with the right to being assisted by a lawyer when demanding justice, including the activation of cases, not just mere criminal defense. So, a Spanish-made probono has to be necessarily different.
We have decided to keep naming this practice as probono, since legal alfabetization is the one practice where lawyer´s good offices can be of substantial public good. In fact, lawyer´s probono is very much needed to support Spanish educational system where legal topics, including the acknowledgment of civil and political rights and liberties, are not explained and barely contained in the Spanish curricular content. We have had many teaching experiences where high school students lacked knowledge or were even uninformed or misled about the meaning of the “Spanish Transition” from dictatorship to democracy and the impact and meaning of human rights protection for justice, to say the least. So this project is not just about helping vulnerable groups to be politcally included in the legal system, but about helping a vast group of non-vulnerable population to understand how to maintain and improve the legal and political system.
To us, lawyers can have a great positive impact in making the students familiar with these topics. There are several reasons that make us strongly believe this. First of, lawyers can easily explain and talk about human rights, liberty and equality as they are fully capacitated. Second, they do provide a magnificent live example to kids on how seriously professionals take the promotion of the rule of law. Third, lawyers can be found all around Spain so they have an enormous reach not only in the big cities but also in those places where there are less population. Only lawyers have the capacity to make an impact. This is what has allowed us to gain support of the Spanish Bar Association (CGAE). In fact, lawyers attending schools is not a new idea, as there are street law programs conducted in Spain by several firms like Roca&Junyent or Uría Menéndez.
To us, probono.es is an opportunity to add a colored noted and bring diversity to the probono practice. We embrace the fact that only lawyers, through their willing free help, can make a positive impact. Spanish lawyers are taking up responsibility and stepping up to our invitation. Amongst big firms and individual lawyers, probono lawyers in Spain are creating an alliance to reach out further and generate a bigger impact.
The direct beneficiaries of probono.es are High school students, who get to acquire knowledge otherwise excluded to them; also teachers and High schools institutions, who have an opportunity to become more influential and relevant to the students by bringing in live testimonials; and, of course, to lawyers, who have here an space to develop their Social Corporate Responsibility while promoting the rule of law.
Would you like to know more about this project? Please, send an email to alberto.iglesias(at)fgp-b.org =)