The Poverty and Social Development Committee of the International Bar Association plans to publish later this year a sequel to Poverty, Justice and the Rule of Law (International Bar Association, 2013). Walker Clark LLC is supporting this project, and we welcome submissions from lawyers who are active in efforts to combat poverty and promote social development in their communities.

The working title of our new book is Eradicating Poverty through Social Development: A Practical Guide for Lawyers. It will provide lawyers with “how to” support that will enable them to assist the clients (especially pro bono clients) and the communities they serve in initiatives to evade, mitigate, or eliminate poverty.

Poverty is a crushingly negative force that undermines societal development, sustainable economic growth, and the rule of law. Its total eradication is Goal #1 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The IBA Poverty and Social Development Committee is convinced that Goal #1 can be achieved by 2030, but the legal profession must serve as an important catalyst for the legal, regulatory, and economic changes that will be needed.

If you are interested in participating in this book project, we would enthusiastically welcome your contribution of a chapter to our book. Also please feel welcome to forward this invitation to others who might be interested in working with us in this effort.

Our approach to the subject

As we developed the concept and content for the book, we were mindful of several goals and working principles that we hope that our work will incorporate and promote:

  • We want to build on the intellectual foundations of our previous book to present practical “how to” discussions of the roles and possible activities of lawyers.
  • We want to expand our focus to embrace the whole world, with practical consideration of the issues of poverty in developing countries.
  • We want to emphasize, and demonstrate how, poverty can be attacked at multiple points at once; there is not just one approach or method.
  • We want to include examples at the practice group level, i.e., things a corporate practice group or law firm practice group can do with their existing resources.
  • In addition to examples of practice group initiatives and activities, we also want to provide examples of actions by lawyers from various industry sectors.
  • We want to focus on the practical issues of how to do it, rather than descriptions of what an anti-poverty effort should be.
  • Because we believe that support to anti-poverty efforts and social development is the ethical duty of every lawyer, it is important that we describe what each lawyer can do in his or her individual practice or in community-based efforts outside the office.

A first outline of the chapters

Here is a first outline of the possible organizational structure and chapters, but these are not prescriptive nor exclusive. We intend that this outline should stimulate your thinking and creativity, rather than define it. We will consider any contributions that address any of the practical problems involve in these topics, or others related to them.

Part 1: - Why?

Why active support to anti-poverty and social development is an ethical duty of every lawyer

When the “rule of law” perpetuates poverty and inequality of opportunity

Business and human rights: What is the lawyer’s role?

Lawyers as the catalyst for change

The business case for an antipoverty and social development practice

Part 2 - What?

In-house lawyers as leaders in corporate social responsibility

The role of the family office in privately held enterprises in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

The role of law firms in corporate social responsibility efforts by small and midsize enterprises

Attacking the intersection of poverty and corruption

Social entrepreneurship as a strategic growth practice area for law firms

Law firms and access to justice, e.g.:

Climate justice

Justice for victims of human trafficking

Taxation justice

Pro bono and “low bono”: common elements and different approaches

Bar associations


Part 3 – How?

 Designing, building and launching a poverty / social development practice

Models and examples

In-house models and structures

Strategic litigation

Multidisciplinary teams with client participation


Consortium of law firms

Scholarships for research

Lawyers, poverty, and public policy

Although there is no set minimum or maximum length for a chapter, we would expect that a typical chapter would be somewhere in the range of 8,000 to 12,000 words, exclusive of endnotes. This is not a requirement, only a starting guideline.

Next steps

Our goals now are to have collected first drafts from authors not later than 15 June 2020, with revisions completed by 15 August 2020, and publication of the book in time for the IBA Annual Conference in November 2020.

If you are interested in writing a chapter for our book, either alone or in collaboration with a colleague, would you please indicate your interest by a “reply all” e-mail no later than 31 March 2020. It also would be very helpful if you could provide preliminary information about:

• a working title for your chapter

• a synopsis (approximately 100 words) of what your chapter will discuss

• the identity and a very brief CV of any co-authors

Upon receipt of your expression of interest, a member of our editorial team will send you additional information about the next steps.

Thank you in advance for your interest and, we hope, your contributions to this project. They will make a difference.

For the Poverty and Social Development Committee:

Norman Clark


You can click on this link to download a free copy of Poverty, Justice, and the Rule of Law: