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Dear all, 

It is our pleasure to present to you our March 2017 Newsletter!

Lara Talsma continues as Pro Bono Connect's Project Coordinator
Alexandra Vader-De Rooy will unfortunately not return from her maternity leave as Project Coordinator. We kindly thank her for giving Pro Bono Connect such a good start and wish her all the best with her future endeavors. We are, however, very happy to announce that Lara Talsma, who is currently running Pro Bono Connect, will continue as its Project Coordinator. Lara has long been involved with the NJCM (Nederlands Juristen Comité voor de Mensenrechten). As a member of the Working Group International Human Rights Protection, she represented the NJCM before the Committee Against Torture in Geneva and before the Eminent Jurist Panel on Counter-Terrorism Measures in Brussels. She also chaired the Migration Law Working Group. Lara is well introduced into both the corporate law world and the NGO / human rights world, as she has worked as an attorney at De Brauw (2012-2016) and as a Policy Officer for the Dutch Council for Refugees (VluchtelingenWerk) and Amnesty International in Mexico. Lara holds a Master’s degree in Law from both the VU University Amsterdam and Harvard Law School. 

Welcome to our first intern
On 13 February, we welcomed our first intern to the team. His name is Kasper Moes and he will be working for Pro Bono Connect until the end of June for two days a week. The other three days, Kasper interns at the NJCM. Kasper is a 4th-year law student in European and International Law at The Hague University of Applied Sciences (Haagse Hogeschool). In his third year, Kasper studied at the University of India as part of an exchange program. Last summer, he returned to India to complete an internship with a law firm in Mumbai. In addition to public international and human rights law, Kasper is interested in communication sciences and has a certificate in WordPress.

Report on the 2016 European Pro Bono Forum in NTM
The NJCM quarterly human rights journal (Nederlands Tijdschrift voor de Mensenrechten, NTM) published Lara Talsma’s report on the European Pro Bono Forum that was held in Amsterdam on 16-18 November 2016. The report demonstrates a growing interest and a variety of developments in pro bono work throughout Europe and the Netherlands. It describes dilemmas and obstacles as well as best practices as discussed during the forum. The report is also available on the Pro Bono Connect website. Should you wish to subscribe to the NTM (for your office library), please contact Toos Verhaar at for subscription details.

The 2017 European Pro Bono Forum from 16-19 October in Budapest
This year’s European Pro Bono Forum will be held in Budapest, Hungary from 16-19 October. PILnet, the initiator and organizer of the forum, will celebrate its 20th anniversary during the forum. The 2017 website is now live:

Pro Bono Connect Business Update
Since November 2015, when Pro Bono Connect first started, Pro Bono Connect has processed more than 60 requests. More than 50 were submitted to the 13 top tier law firms that support Pro Bono Connect (the Founding Members). Only some five requests were not accepted by any of the law firms. Reasons for decline included conflicts of interest, too short a deadline, or when a case was considered too politically sensitive. However, some law firms did take on some very interesting and politically sensitive cases. When Pro Bono Connect decided not to forward cases to our law firms, they involved financial requests or individual cases that ran the risk of interfering with the business of lawyers that work on a legal aid basis. Requests varied from legal advice to litigation and included topics that lie at the core of corporate law, such as financial advice, redrafting articles of association, IP law, and contract law, but also entailed human rights issues (including issues of discrimination, LGBTQI-rights, asylum law, privacy etc.) and sustainable development. Please keep an eye out for our next newsletters in which we will include more details on cases. 

Upcoming events and actions
In April, Pro Bono Connect will kick off a large NGO-campaign with which we aim to enhance awareness among NGOs about our work and the possibility to obtain legal assistance on a pro bono basis through Pro Bono Connect. With that we hope to double our request intake in the next few months. In addition, Pro Bono Connect is planning a round-table event in May. The event will include a closed session for the Founding Members and the Advisory Committee as well as a public session that is open to other lawyers, NGOs and who else is interested. During the event Pro Bono Connect will present its Annual Report, but there will also be lectures and networking opportunities. More details to follow soon.
Best wishes,
Also on behalf of the NJCM-Board
Lara Talsma
Project Coordinator
+31 (0)6 1036 2332
The Netherlands' Public Interest Clearinghouse
Our contact details are:
De Wittenstraat 25
1052 AK Amsterdam
+31 20 240 29 56

Pro Bono Connect is a project by the Dutch Section of the International Commission of Jurists (NJCM). For more information and membership options, please visit

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Pro Bono Connect · PO Box 2143 · Amsterdam, (NH) 1000 CS · Netherlands

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