Iris V. Quadrio
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Infant malnutrition is a worldwide problem. If during the first two years of life a child does not receive the necessary nutrition, the child's brain development and the child's intellect and capacity to learn can be substantially impaired. The children of the world are the future, and ensuring proper infant nutrition is one essential step in making that future bright and prosperous.
In Argentina and other Latin America countries, Fundación CONIN operates over 40 Centers for the Prevention of Malnutrition that fight against infant malnutrition. Dr. Abel Albino founded CONIN in September 1993 in Mendoza, Argentina, modeling his new outreach effort on a similar program operating in Chile. Using the three pillars of education, assistance and research, CONIN's operation of efficient nutritional programs has been replicated in Paraguay, Perú and Gambia.
INTA member Iris V. Quadrio, Buenos Aires, Argentina first crossed paths with CONIN when she had the privilege to hear Dr. Albino speak about CONIN's history and mission. Impressed with Dr Albino's energy and determination, Iris was delighted when, a few months later, her firm, Marval, O’Farrell & Mairal, was asked to help with the registration of the house mark FUNDACION CONIN back in 2003. Since that time Iris and her firm have provided assistance with the protection of the various trademarks and designs used by CONIN. They are proud to have played a small part in helping CONIN in the fight against infant malnutrition in Latin America.
Fundación CONIN was only one of many pro bono projects with which Iris and her firm have been involved. Other notable projects include registering trademarks and negotiating trademark agreements for Habitat for Humanity, assisting Grameen Bank with trademark prosecution and enforcement matters (Grameen Bank is a Nobel Peace Prize winning "bank for the poor" that was started to provide microcredit to the poorest of the poor in rural Bangladesh and whose work has expanded to other parts of the world), and providing trademark and copyright advice to local charities focusing on disabled children's nutritional programs.
Iris and her firm strongly support pro bono work. For more then a decade, Marval, O´Farrell & Mairal has had an internal committee that organizes, distributes and coordinates pro bono work within the firm. Partner Gonzalo J. Fontana has been leading this committee for the past ten years.
In addition, the firm took part in the drafting of, and subscribed to, the Pro Bono Declaration for the Americas, a model commitment to pro bono work offered by the International Bar Association. Marval, O´Farrell & Mairal lawyers are involved in pro bono work in all areas of the law, and the firm promotes pro bono work by giving associates credit for the time they spend on pro bono projects. By the end of 2012, the firm dedicated approximately 4.200 hours to pro bono work.
The firm's annual end-of-year event that celebrates its achievements routinely includes a special presentation dedicated to pro bono. The 2012 celebration included a video presentation with personal testimonials by the individuals who had directly benefited from the firm's recent pro bono activities. Victoria Acosta from Familias de Esperanza, an association that works for the rights of children who have been separated from their parents, said of Marval, O'Farrell & Mairal: "The lawyers feel for each child like he or she is their own. They feel and fight for their rights. It is an experience that is very worthwhile."
Iris and her firm are excellent examples of the incredible pro bono work INTA members are doing around the globe.