Mountain View, CA (February 11, 2014) – Fenwick & West is pleased to announce that partner Vic Schachter has been recognized among four individual recipients of the Super Lawyers Pro Bono Awards nationwide who “exemplify excellence in practice through delivery of volunteer legal services to the poor, underrepresented or exploited.” In addition to the four individuals, five law firms, law schools and other legal organizations are also honored.
At the age of 71 and 46 years into his practice, Schachter is volunteering more of his time than ever. Using his well honed advocacy and mediation skills, he is pursuing his decades-long passion, creating access to justice for underserved populations in emerging democracies.
Schachter has worked to establish and upgrade the quality of more than a dozen mediation centers throughout India to peacefully, fairly and timely resolve disputes, while also reducing the enormous backlog of court cases. Since the beginning of the mediation program in 2006, more than 150,000 cases have been mediated in India, with settlement rates ranging from 55 to 65 percent.
“The key is sustainability,” Schachter told ABA Journal when he was profiled for his work in 2013. “What’s critical is to build what’s sustainable when we leave. We respect the nationalism of these countries. We get in, build it and get out.”
Schachter not only sets up the mediation centers, but also implements management systems and trains judges and attorneys to serve within the centers. Realizing there is still so much more that can be done, in 2012, with the support of Fenwick & West, Schachter established a unique 501 (c)(3) organization, The Foundation for Sustainable Rule of Law Initiatives (FSRI), to continue his global alternative dispute resolution work. When Schachter informed Fenwick that he wanted to devote a major part of his practice to his foundation, the firm made a substantial donation and offered to serve as the Foundation’s counsel pro bono.
“Pro bono is an important part of our culture at Fenwick, and we’re proud that Vic has taken the initiative to continue and build on that tradition in his own practice,” said partner Pat Premo, chair of Fenwick’s Pro Bono Program. “Literally hundreds of thousands of underserved individuals have been positively affected by Vic’s work. We’re honored that Vic has given us an opportunity to be a part of that.”
He added: “Vic is doing such incredible work. It’s a privilege to get behind him.”
With FSRI, Schachter is now focusing on building and expanding sustainable mediation centers in developing countries and devising, promoting and cultivating an infrastructure of procedures and programs to provide host counties with enduring judicial reform systems. While his current focus is continued expansion within India, he has recently worked in Kosovo and has been invited to expand his work into Eastern Europe and several countries throughout Central and South America.
For Schachter, it’s not just about introducing this effective form of dispute resolution – it’s about nurturing peaceful coexistence and access to justice for underserved people around the world and being able to effectively address their concerns in a fair, sustainable and timely way.
The Super Lawyers Pro Bono Awards recipients were chosen by a review committee, which evaluated each application based on several factors including legal effort, personal contribution, impact to the law and innovation.
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