Global Brigades is an international non-profit that empowers communities to meet their health and economic goals through university volunteers and local teams.

Conducting Legal Clinics in Rural Panama

Chapters are empowered to participate in 7-9 day Human Rights brigades to Panama. Volunteers facilitate legal clinics with Panamanian lawyers to provide pro-bono consulting and the financial resources for community members to help resolve cases.

Volunteer Activities

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Legal Clinics

Volunteers attend a legal clinic organized by Panamanian lawyers for the community members with legal issues. Volunteers receive first-hand experience shadowing lawyers as they provide free legal consultations. Common cases range from marriage and divorce requests to domestic violence and child support.

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Help Resolve Family Legal Cases

Volunteers will meet with families to gain trust and understanding of their legal challenges. Later, the volunteers work with the Panamanian lawyers and families to gather all relevant information about the case that will assist the lawyer in resolving the legal issue. Volunteers will prepare a workshop to present to the clients with recommendations from the lawyer about how to resolve the legal issue and the next steps within the legal process.

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Educational Workshops

Volunteers work alongside the Panamanian Ministry of Social Development (MIDES) to present educational workshops (i.e. “charlas”, which means “chats” in Spanish) on topics related to legal rights and concepts. Groups will be responsible for executing both an adult and children’s charla.

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Mooting

Mooting (i.e. “moot court”) is a fictitious legal debate simulating the argument of counsel on points of law, similar to mock trial. Volunteers will argue two sides of a previous case that occured in Panama (with names changed) using real case precedents and laws. All materials required for this exercise will be provided 2-3 weeks prior to the brigade to allow for sufficient preparation.

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Promotion of Community Bank

In order to further support the training and development of our Microfinance Program, volunteers will review and present an educational workshop on the by-laws of a given community bank. This presentation will be directed towards all members of the bank, allowing community members to become more comfortable with the legal guidelines established by and for their bank.

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