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Tania Liberman & Rafael Pessoa


Tania Liberman & Rafael Pessoa, Koury Lopes Advogados in São Paulo, Brazil

pro bono spotlightWith the desire to help people and work on social justice, Tania Liberman, of São Paulo, Brazil, entered the law to make a difference.  After spending time working in New York and a number of years in “big law”, she helped found the law firm of KLA-Koury Lopes Advogados in São Paulo in 2002.  While she began her career in corporate and M&A law, at KLA, she began to focus on IP and media law.  Prior to joining KLA, she had experience doing pro bono work for various non-profit organizations in Brazil.  When KLA began, she helped to start its Pro Bono program and she is currently the head of the Pro Bono group.  “Pro bono and volunteer work are very important to me,” Tania recently explained.

Rafael Pessoa entered the law for a different reason -- in his words, to “figure out how the world works.”  He wanted to understand the structural view of how laws are made.  He became an associate at KLA in 2016 (after doing a legal internship at KLA during his last years of law school).  At KLA, he focuses on IP, technology and innovation, and is the Pro Bono coordinator at the firm.  He was drawn to IP because he always liked music (he had a stint in a music band with his friends as a teenager – it didn’t last!) and wants to help protect all kinds of artists and their work. 

Recently, Tania and Rafael, together with their IP colleagues at KLA -- through the Thomson Reuters Foundation clearing house -- had the chance to assist F123, a Brazil-based social enterprise, with part of their legal needs in Brazil.  According to F123’s website, F123 “designs innovative projects to expand access to technology and to provide professional low cost software and training for people who are blind or who have low vision.”

Tania explained, “our IP team was immediately touched by the purposes presented by F123 in their project description - a process of "humanization" of computer reading software for the visually impaired. We felt that by working on this project, we could contribute with our expertise to benefit not only F123 and its mission, but also every individual that could come across this accessibility software in the future.”

According to Tania and Rafael, F123's project has the potential of impacting the lives of the visually impaired. The digital era makes every person more dependent on technology, and software engineering has the mission of easing the proximity between machines and human beings. F123 wants to take part in this process by allowing blind people to forget those "robotic" voice synthesizers with the introduction of a "humanized" synthesizer that is being carefully developed by professional software engineers and voice actors. Rafael noted that “we believe that this change in the way that blind people use computers has the potential of dramatically improving their lives.”
KLA’s IP team, coordinated by Rafael, assisted F123 with the drafting of the services agreement/copyright assignment with the actor/singer who dubs the voice synthesizer.  Rafael explained, “it was a great project and we are excited that the actor has now been chosen to dub the voice synthesizer.”

Tania and Rafael recently learned that the F123 project was nominated as a finalist for the Innovation Award at the eighth annual TrustLaw Awards.  “We are thrilled that the project has been recognized for the work it is doing and we are proud to have played a part in the project,” Tania said.  The TrustLaw Awards are taking place on September 26th, 2018 in New York.

Author: Simone Katz-O’Neill, Delicato Family Vineyards, Napa, California, USA, Pro Bono Committee, with contributions from Rafael Pessoa, KLA-Koury Lopes Advogados, São Paulo, Brazil.