Sidley has been giving legal assistance to CARE USA, one of the largest providers of assistance to the poor in the world, for a number of years. We have helped CARE deal with the gauntlet of U.S. restrictions in countries subject to particularly complex rules and regulations so it can provide humanitarian assistance in those locations. One such country where advice has been provided is Myanmar (Burma). CARE has been allowed to do work there, and fortunately, was able to have a substantial presence in that country when the recent cyclone hit. Another complex humanitarian situation where Sidley was able to help is the Sudan. CARE received a grant from the U.S. Institute of Peace, which is established and funded by Congress, and CARE asked us to help to them determine if its proposed work in Darfur was permissible. We have also assisted CARE with contract analysis, trademark issues, tax advice (micro-investing through an affiliate), and resolution of disputes, such as who was responsible for a lost shipment of aid materials in Angola. CARE has invited Sidley lawyers to a number of celebratory dinners to thank the firm for its help.
In addition to this latest firmwide initiative, Sidley’s International Trade Group, under the leadership of Andrew Shoyer, has launched a new international pro bono initiative on a trial basis and has offered to make available to certain developing countries legal assistance on matters arising under public international law. Subject to review and resolution of any potential conflicts of interest, Sidley will consider providing the following types of services to these countries:
- Analyzing the consistency with applicable international trade or investment agreements of an existing or proposed government measure
- Assisting on the legal aspects of official position papers or proposals to be submitted to bodies established under applicable international trade or investment agreements, including the World Trade Organization
- Assisting on the legal aspects of informal proposals for negotiations in international trade forums, including the World Trade Organization
- Reviewing and advising on answers to questions received in the context of the periodic Trade Policy Review conducted by the World Trade Organization
- Advising on negotiations of regional trade agreements and bilateral investment treaties
- Advising on export controls and customs law of the United States and the European Union
As a result of this new initiative, in the spring of 2008, the firm was retained by the Government of Lesotho to provide legal advice on its negotiations on trade in services with the European Communities, in the context of the broader negotiation of an Economic Partnership Agreement between the European Communities and certain countries of the Southern African Development Community.