2024 Access to Justice Exchange

The Role of Bar Associations/Law Societies in Supporting Pro Bono Workshop

Empowering Justice: The Role of Bar Associations/Law Societies in Supporting Pro Bono

A workshop by Pro Bono SG and BABSEACLE


Access to justice remains a critical challenge for the most vulnerable and needy segments of society in Asia. Pro bono legal services are essential in bridging this gap, ensuring justice is accessible to all, irrespective of socio-economic status. Bar associations play a pivotal role in this ecosystem, providing the necessary framework, encouragement, and support for legal professionals to engage in pro bono work.


Bar Associations throughout Asia have concentrated on attempting to support their members who have the capacity to realise their pro bono ethical obligations to work pro bono with varying degrees of success. It is both a key member service and public benefit undertaking. The varying degrees of success in these efforts highlight the complex landscape of pro bono legal work across different jurisdictions, each with its unique challenges and opportunities.

Building upon this foundation, the workshop has become a cornerstone of the annual Asia Access to Justice Exchange (A2JX), gaining momentum and support from a network of key bar association members both from within Asia and the global legal community.

This initiative stands as a testament to the collective commitment to bolstering pro bono services, drawing upon years of accumulated wisdom, experiences, and the evolving best practices in the field.

By institutionalizing this workshop as a core initiative, we harness the synergy of past participants and workshops, aiming to spotlight not only the steadfast efforts of bar associations in pro bono advocacy but also the dynamic strategies that bridge the gap between those in need of pro bono legal services and the legal professionals eager to provide them.

This year’s workshop seeks to further this legacy, offering a platform to showcase ongoing and new best practices in pro bono support, fostering a collaborative environment where impactful strategies are shared, refined, and implemented.

Date: Monday 11 November 2024

Time: 8:30 am – 5 pm


Venue: Holiday Inn Bangkok Silom

Room: Silom 1

981 Silom Road, Bangrak, Bangkok 10500, Thailand

Venue Website: https://bangkoksilom.holidayinn.com/

Registration Fees

You will find options below to register to attend the event either in person or online.


• Early Bird: $80 USD: Mar 15 – June 15

• Regular Rate: $95 USD: June 16 – Sep 30

• Late: $125 USD: Oct 1 – event date

Physical Participation

  • Admission to all sessions of the workshop
  • Lunch and refreshments during the workshop day


• Early Bird: $20 USD: Mar 15 – June 15

• Regular Rate: $30 USD: June 16 – Sep 30

• Late: $45 USD: Oct 1 – event date

Virtual Participation

  • Access to all virtual sessions of the workshop

Objectives of the Workshop:

The workshop aims to raise awareness about the crucial role of bar associations in promoting and facilitating pro bono legal services in Asia. It will highlight successful case studies and best practices from the region, provide practical guidance on engaging and supporting legal professionals in pro bono work, and encourage collaboration to enhance pro bono support across Asia.

1. Highlight the Crucial Role of Bar Associations/Law Societies: The workshop will emphasize the importance of bar associations in promoting and facilitating pro bono legal services, showcasing their potential to make significant contributions to societal well-being.

2. Showcase Success Stories: Inspiring case studies and best practices will be shared from across the region, demonstrating the impactful outcomes of effective pro bono initiatives.

3. Provide Practical Guidance: actionable insights and strategies for bar associations to motivate and support legal professionals in their pro bono endeavors will be offered.

4. Foster Collaboration: The creation of a platform for interactive discussions, experience sharing, and networking, thereby building a community of practice that strengthens pro bono services across Asia.

5. Inspire Action: The workshop will encourage the formulation and commitment to concrete actions and policies that enhance the support for pro bono work within the legal community.

Key Components of the Workshop:

• Inaugural Session: Introduction by eminent leaders in the legal fraternity, underscoring the importance of legal aid and pro bono work in ensuring justice for all.

• Panel Discussions: Expert-led panels to discuss the role of bar associations in various jurisdictions, successes achieved, and challenges faced in fostering pro bono culture.

• Breakout Sessions: Thematic groups focusing on specific aspects of pro bono work, such as legal aid in civil and criminal cases, special focus on marginalized communities, and cross-border collaboration.

• Capacity Building Workshops: Hands-on sessions providing tools, resources, and strategies for bar associations to effectively engage lawyers in pro bono work.

• Networking Opportunities: Facilitated networking sessions to foster partnerships and collaborations among participants from different regions.

• Action Planning: A collaborative session to develop a roadmap for participating bar associations to implement and enhance pro bono initiatives.

Target Audience:

The workshop is designed for bar association leaders/officers/policy makers, and staff members, as well as all lawyers with an interest in the provision of efficient pro bono service delivery, specialist committees and groupings of lawyers and students, not for profit organisations who use pro bono services, government officials engaged in supporting the access to justice/rule of law sector, and those non-lawyers whose clients need pro bono services.


The workshop will move from plenary to break out sessions around the objectives set. Participants will be encouraged to both engage with expert presenters during the former, and bring the experience of their own jurisdictions to the latter.

Workshop Agenda

Time Session
8:30 AM – 9:00 AM Registration and Welcome Coffee
9:00 AM – 9:15 AM

Welcome and Introduction

– Brief introduction to the workshop’s objectives and agenda

– Overview of the importance of pro bono work in promoting access to justice for vulnerable communities

9:15 AM – 10:00 AM

Keynote Address

– Invited speaker from a prominent bar association in Asia to share insights on the role of bar associations in promoting pro bono initiatives

– Emphasize the impact of pro bono work on underprivileged individuals and communities

10:00 AM – 11:00 AM

Case Studies and Best Practices

– Presentation of successful pro bono initiatives by bar associations in different countries across Asia

– Highlight the challenges faced and strategies employed to overcome them

– Showcase the positive outcomes and impact of these initiatives on marginalized communities

11:00 AM – 11:30 AM Coffee Break and Networking
11:30 AM – 12:30 PM

Practical Guidance for Bar Associations

– Interactive session on effective strategies for engaging and supporting legal professionals in pro bono work

– Discuss the importance of mentorship, training, and recognition programs

– Share resources and tools available to bar associations to facilitate pro bono initiatives

12:30 PM – 1:30 PM Lunch Break
1:30 PM – 2:30 PM

Panel Discussion: Bar Associations and Access to Justice

– Panel discussion with representatives from bar associations, legal aid organizations, and NGOs

– Explore the challenges and opportunities for collaboration between these entities to enhance access to justice for vulnerable individuals

– Discuss potential partnerships and joint initiatives to address gaps in legal services

2:30 PM – 3:30 PM

Interactive Workshops

– Breakout sessions focusing on specific topics related to pro bono work, such as legal clinics, public awareness campaigns, or policy advocacy

– Facilitate interactive discussions and knowledge sharing among participants

– Encourage participants to develop action plans and strategies for implementing pro bono initiatives in their respective jurisdictions

3:30 – 4:00 pm Coffee Break and Networking

4:00 – 4:30 pm

Wrap-up and Closing Remarks

– Recap of key takeaways from the workshop

– Encourage participants to continue collaborating and sharing experiences beyond the workshop

– Call for concrete actions to enhance pro bono support across Asia

Note: The workshop is designed to accommodate a diverse range of participants, including representatives from bar associations, legal professionals, legal aid organizations, NGOs, government officials, and academia. The workshop will also include opportunities for networking and informal discussions to foster collaboration and inspire concrete actions.