CVLS Hosts Filipino Legal Professionals with World Chicago's International Visitor Leadership Program

Monday, February 2, 2015

CVLS, in conjunction with World Chicago, was pleased to host a group of Filipino legal professionals interested in gaining a better understanding of U.S. government agencies, as well as public and private organizations involved in alternative diplomacy and dispute mediation. 

These international visitors are doing amazing work starting up law clinics for low-income and vulnerable populations in the Philippines. They visited CVLS Services to learn more about our work serving low-income clients, and to discuss the benefits and challenges of relying on volunteers.

Executive Director Meg Benson talked about CVLS' beginnings and growth, how we take on and manage cases, volunteer and client management, as well as advice for young legal professionals looking to start their own socially conscious practices. 

Joining the session was Aurora Abella-Austriaco, a CVLS volunteer formerly of the Chicago Bar Association and currently practicing business litigation as Austriaco & Associates. Aurora, the first Asian president of the CBA, shared her experiences with CVLS and pro bono, stressing the importance and benefits of incorporating pro bono into legal practice.

The U.S. State Department's International Visitor Leadership Program is designed for law students and legal professionals representing select institutions based in Mindanao in the Southern Philippines, providing them with political, academic, economic and social perspectives on conflict resolution, peace studies, and legal services in the United States.

Thank you to the State Department, World Chicago, and of course, the program's participants for your interest in civil legal aid and for this opportunity to share what we do at CVLS! 

The "U.S. Perspectives on Legal Aid" project participants CVLS hosted included: 

  • Ms. Cayen CABIGUEN, Vice President for External Affairs, Palawan Cradle of Rights
  • Ms. Eldred COLE, Deputy Regional Prosecutor, Department of Justice, Office of the City Prosecutor, Dumaguete City
  • Ms. Mymannah Lou DIMACALING, Law Student, University of Mindanao
  • Mr. Manuel Donato ELUMBA, Law Student, Western Mindanao State University
  • Ms. Febe FAJARDO, Law Student, Liceo de Cagayan University
  • Ms. Sittie Aliah LIMBAO, Legal Aid Member, Mindanao State University – Iligan Institute of Technology
  • Mr. Rhobert MAESTRE, President, Mindanao Youth Volunteer Corps
  • Ms. Meraphi PIMENTEL, President, Bukidnon State University Legal Aid Clinic
  • Ms. Mary Claire SANSARONA, Chair, Formation and Disciplinary Committee, Mindanao State University Legal Aid Clinic

WorldChicago is a not for profit, membership organization which assists guests of the U.S. government who visit the Chicago area from abroad.