Use this button to switch between dark and light mode.

Recognizing Lawyers Advancing Rule of Law Worldwide

December 14, 2023 (5 min read)

By Nigel Roberts | VP Global Associations LexisNexis Legal & Professional, VP LexisNexis Rule of Law Foundation

LexisNexis is a global provider of legal information services and tools, which provides us with an important perspective on how the law is serving communities worldwide. We have made it our mission as a company to advance the Rule of Law around the world so that all citizens and institutions are treated the same according to their prevailing laws.

One way that we carry out this mission is by putting our money where our mouths are and allocating corporate financial resources to support the efforts of legal practitioners who are working for fundamental changes that promote equal justice under the law. LexisNexis Legal & Professional’s participation at two major industry events this Fall included the presentation of a series of awards to lawyers who are doing amazing work around the world.

International Bar Association “Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year Award”

 The International Bar Association (IBA) hosted its 2023 Annual Conference last month in Paris, which was attended by more than 6,000 lawyers from 130 countries. We were privileged and honored to partner with the IBA to recognize two individuals for their commitment to advancing the Rule of Law.

The first individual was Raphael Pangalangan, a lawyer from the Republic of the Philippines, who was the recipient of the 2023 IBA Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year Award. This award was created by LexisNexis in partnership with the IBA in 2008.

Pangalangan is a special counsel at Ocampo & Suralvo, where he advises governments, corporations and international organizations on economic sanctions, trade protectionism, white collar crime, and business and human rights.

Through his work with CenterLaw Philippines, he has represented victims of the Philippine drug war before domestic courts, foreign sanctions regimes and international bodies. He has played a key role in several landmark cases for his country, including challenging the constitutionality of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 before the Philippines Supreme Court and in representing victims of red-tagging, a practice used to target and intimidate human rights defenders, journalists and political opponents. He also served as legal counsel to members of the Malaya Lolas organization, a group of women who survived the “comfort system” of sexual exploitation instituted by Japanese occupying forces in World War II.

“My life is dedicated to using law as an instrument for change — to stand up for the marginalized, to voice the voiceless and to improve the lives of those around me,” said Pangalangan.

In addition to his legal advocacy work, Pangalangan has taken on several advisory roles with the United Nations, served as a visiting scholar at Harvard University, and teaches courses on human rights and international law at Jindal Global Law School, work that is advancing the rule of law worldwide. Learn more about Pangalangan's award presentation.

International Bar Association “Pro Bono Award”

 The second individual we were honored to help recognize at the IBA Annual Meeting was María Fernanda Mierez, a lawyer from Argentina, who was the recipient of the IBA Pro Bono Award for 2023. This is an annual award presented by the IBA Pro Bono Committee that we are pleased to support with a financial sponsorship.

Mierez is a partner at Beccar Varela, where she co-heads the firm’s ESG and Company Law departments, focusing on business law and M&A advisory work.

Mierez was recognized for her 20-year dedication to pro bono legal work, including the co-founding of a pro bono program within her law firm and the establishment of structures such as the Young Lawyers Pro Bono Network in Argentina. Under her leadership, Beccar Varela received numerous awards for its pro bono initiatives, including the Enrique Shaw Award for “business with a human face” and Latin Lawyer’s regional Pro Bono Law Firm of the Year in 2022. Her efforts have also made an important contribution to encourage a new generation of practitioners to get involved with legal aid.

“Pro bono work connects us with our career purpose, it is the responsibility of every lawyer to facilitate people’s access to their individual rights, especially the most vulnerable,” said Mierez. “Through two decades of pro bono work, I have come to know the organizations we assist and the positive impact they have on individuals, contributing to a fairer and more beautiful society.”

Having an accessible legal remedy is an essential element of the rule of law, so providing this kind of pro bono legal assistance to the most vulnerable is key to ensuring access to justice. See more about Mierez's award presentation.

Union Internationale des Avocats “LexisNexis Rule of Law Award”

 The Union Internationale des Avocats (UIA), a global association of lawyers that brings together 2 million lawyers from 110 countries, hosted its 67th Annual Congress in Rome in October.

We were pleased to recognize Céline Bardet, a lawyer in France, as the recipient of the 2023 UIA/LexisNexis Rule of Law Award. We established this award in partnership with the UIA in 2016. 

Bardet is the president and founder of We Are Not Weapons of War, an NGO dedicated to fighting sexual violence in conflicts by proposing a new way of working on the ground with victims. She is also an internationally renowned expert on justice and security issues who works regularly as a consultant on projects funded by the European Commission and the United Nations. She is particularly focused on complex criminal issues such as war crimes, corruption, terrorism, drug trafficking and organized crime, post-conflict justice and sexual violence in conflicts. Ms. Bardet is also an associate judge at the Cour Nationale du Droit d’Asile, the national court of asylum in Paris.

“We sincerely hope that this award will help draw international attention to the valuable work undertaken by Ms. Bardet, and inspire other members of the legal community to support her and follow her example by engaging in this type of civil society-led initiative in their own countries,” said UIA Immediate Past President, Urquiola De Palacio,.

Ms. Bardet’s ongoing commitment to the fight for justice and her tireless efforts to combat sexual violence in conflict zones is a heroic example of the fight to advance the rule of law worldwide. See more from Bardet's award presentation.

On behalf of all of us at LexisNexis, congratulations to these three individuals for these well-deserved awards to recognize their important work around the world.