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Morrison & Foerster’s trademark pro bono skills are helping the firm strengthen its ties to Argentina. Last month, the bar association in Buenos Aires asked MoFo if it could help the organization set up a pro bono program. The firm, which set up shop in the city a year ago, quickly agreed. “Our view is that access to justice and legal services is the keystone to civil society,” said Zane Gresham, managing partner of the Buenos Aires office. Gresham said the firm’s nine-attorney outpost has been well received by the legal community. The fact that the bar association sought MoFo’s help “is a good indication we’re regarded as good colleagues,” he said. While individual attorneys in Argentina do pro bono work, a formal structure does not yet exist. MoFo is itself participating in two pro bono projects. In one of the projects, attorneys Andr�s Capdepon and David Lori� are helping set up a foundation to educate students about the Organization of American States, a political organization of 35 member countries that implements programs related to trade, human rights, poverty and democracy. The entity — to serve as the Argentine chapter of the so-called Model Organization of American States Inter-American Studies Foundation — will involve students in various activities. Gresham said the foundation hopes to set up mock OAS meetings in which students represent the interests of various countries. MoFo’s attorneys are also advising a nonprofit group that helps startup companies develop their business plans and obtain financing. There is “not a tradition of entrepreneurship” in Argentina, Gresham said. “As a consequence it is difficult for would-be entrepreneurs to have role models.” Gresham said he believes MoFo has a fundamental responsibility to offer pro bono services. “We have a privileged position as members of a learned profession,” he said, so it’s important “to give something back to the community.”

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