PBI’s Got Seoul, Part 2
Last week, PBI was pleased to welcome officials from the Metropolitan Government of Seoul, South Korea. The visit comes nearly two years after PBI’s participation in South Korea’s first pro bono symposium. The officials, primarily from the Seoul government’s Legal Affairs Division, sat down with Law Firm Pro Bono Project Director Tammy Taylor and Global Pro Bono Project Coordinator Sri Katragadda to learn more about the history of pro bono in the U.S. The discussion was wide-ranging and touched on the role that PBI has played in the development of pro bono, as well as some of the challenges facing pro bono around the globe. The Seoul officials noted that South Korean lawyers are required to satisfy a mandatory minimum of pro bono hours every year or face a penalty. In addition, South Korean law provides lawyers as a civil right, but only if one is sued. This led to a discussion of unsatisfied legal needs for those who cannot afford a lawyer but do not meet the requirements to be assigned a lawyer, such as plaintiffs in civil matters.
This meeting is the latest in a series of conversations that PBI has had with lawyers and representatives from South Korea interested in pro bono, dating back to 2006. We are excited to stay engaged with the development of pro bono in South Korea, particularly in light of the number of global law firms that have opened offices in Seoul.