Meeting of interns with pro bono lawyers
Interns of the HFHR and the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights have attended a meeting with the members of the Warsaw Bar Association on public interest activities. Students talked to Małgorzata Mączka-Pacholak and Paweł Osik, attorneys of Pietrzak Sidor & Wspólnicy.
The lawyers explained how legal professionals provide pro bono services, what justifies the provision of free legal aid and talked about cooperation with non-governmental organisations. The hosts stressed in particular that pro bono activity has an effect on strategic litigation. “The work of pro bono lawyers with non-governmental organisations is especially important in cases of human rights strategic litigation. The idea behind strategic litigation is to handle cases in which decisions of national or international courts might have important significance for the development of the practice of implementing or changing the law in a way that enhances the standards of human rights protection”, said the attorneys during the meeting.
Advocates Małgorzata Mączka-Pacholak and Paweł Osik also talked about the greatest challenges faced by pro bono lawyers. “Attorneys are eager to handle cases pro bono hand to hand with non-governmental organisations, but such cases are sometimes extremely complex and require an unconventional approach. Some of these cases may even at first glance seem to be unwinnable”, explained the lawyers.
During the discussion, students also asked difficult questions concerning the cooperation of law firms with NGOs. Among others, the guests also had to answer questions on ethical issues: how to proceed if a conflict of interests arises between the client and the strategic goals of an organisation that put the client in contact with the pro bono representatives.
The guests also gave the students practical examples of how Pietrzak Sidor & Wspólnicy works with various NGOs.