The American Lawyer Global Citizenship Award, Lifetime Achievement: DLA Piper/New Perimeter
Not long after DLA, a British firm, and two U.S. firms, Piper Rudnick and Gray Cary combined to become DLA Piper in 2005, the new entity established an affiliated non profit organization to take on international pro bono efforts. Since then the firm has worked in 16 countries spread across three continents, addressing real legal needs in in less developed and post- conflict countries. The firm aims to provide 13,000-to-15,000 pro bono hours annually across four main practice areas: women’s rights, access to justice and law reform, economic development, and environmental protection.
Perhaps just as remarkable—a real example of an organization assisting through imparting its own, specialist knowledge—is its emphasis on providing legal education. Currently New Perimeter is providing training projects in Guyana, Mexico, Colombia, South Africa and Tanzania, and expects to have new projects on stream in Zambia and Nepal by the close of 2013.
The firm says that since 2005, more than 200 lawyers drawn from over 40 of its offices located in 20 countries have developed training materials and taught on topics including international negotiations, international arbitration, legal drafting, legislative drafting, legal ethics and special economic zones.
To underscore its commitment to its mission, in 2012 the firm made a formal commitment at the Clinton Global Initiative to boost its legal education work in East Africa, and has since undertaken to train 1550 law students and legal practitioners in Tanzania and Zambia over the course of three years. Indeed, DLA Piper has been closely involved in legal education at the Law School of Tanzania since 2010, providing provides a two-week course, developed in close collaboration with the Law School, focusing on commercial law drafting skills.
Meanwhile, in the Balkans, New Perimeter is working with the Kosovo Legal Profession Program, a project focused on improving the laws and regulations affecting Kosovo’s legal sector and supporting practicing lawyers through the Kosovo Chamber of Advocates (KCA) – here it is partnering with the National Center for State Courts (NCSC), an international nonprofit organization, on this USAID-funded project.
New Perimeter also provides direct services. There’s a litany of projects that dot the globe. A sampling: New Perimeter lawyers provided a range of help to small groups of subsistence farmers in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda in generating and selling carbon credits. They worked with an NGO across four continents to develop an effective micro-lending project. And in Peru, their lawyers worked with a local non-profit to develop a more effective domestic violence victim protection program.
The New Perimeter effort points toward a new way of looking at the world’s legal needs and helping to meet them. We are delighted to bestow upon the firm, and its non-profit affiliate, the award of Global Citizenship Award for Lifetime Achievement.