Creating Sustainable Communities
of Public Interest Lawyers

From 2013 through 2017, the U.S.-Asia Law Institute (USALI) carried out a project entitled “Building Sustainable Communities of Public Interest Advocates.” This project sought to promote the rule of law and overcome long-standing obstacles to the enforcement of lawful rights by supporting the development of professional networks in three substantive areas: property rights, labor rights and the right to be free from discrimination.

This project had two overarching goals. First, we aimed to facilitate the building of a sense of community among Chinese advocates working on common challenges. Second, we aimed to assist Chinese advocates in developing legal strategies to overcome long-standing, difficult obstacles to the enforcement of rights in the three focus areas within this project.

Over the course of several workshops, we created a space for individuals in each cohort to learn from each other’s experiences and challenges in conducting their work. Our ultimate goal was to support the development of durable networks of individuals working on common issues of policy and law and to enhance their capacity to solve complex challenges and persistent legal and social problems in each area.