Brazil’s Siqueira Castro Advogados has expanded its pro bono programme with the addition of five new NGOs and charities.

The five new institutions were added at the beginning of July and include:

  • Associação Colorindo a Vida, which provides support for children suffering from cancer and their families in the state of Pará;
  • CARE Brasil, an NGO which aims to promote sustainable development and social inclusion in Brazil’s poorest regions;
  • Youth education support organisation Centro de Assistência e Motivação das Pessoas; and
  • Church charities Congregação Das Missionárias da Caridade and Paróquia Nossa Senhora dos Alagados.

Siqueira Castro, which was nominated as a leading light in pro bono work by Latin Lawyer at the beginning of the year in recognition of its efforts to provide free legal services to those in need, currently counts 29 institutions among its pro bono programme. In May of this year, Siqueira Castro lawyers gave up 115 hours to pro bono work, working on 65 separate legal matters.

Siqueira Castro partner Carlos Fernando Siqueira Castro, who is also coordinator of the pro bono programme, explains that the firm’s pro bono committee “constantly evaluates new institutions to be included in our programme”. After a detailed evaluation in which the committee seeks to establish that the charity in question is serious and has considerable social reach, it is then approved for inclusion on a permanent basis in the firm’s pro bono programme.

Castro also notes that the firm aims to have institutions located in all the Brazilian states where it has an office, and that it has a preference for charities which assist children. As a general rule, the firm assists the institutions with contracts, tax planning, civil and labour law matters as well as occasionally with litigation cases.

The Brazilian bar association, the OAB, has strict rules on the conditions under which lawyers can provide pro bono services. A national consultation is currently underway with a view to relaxing the restrictions.