Guided by its social DNA, the firm has redirected and expanded its pro bono services to civil society organizations and individuals, while also strengthening volunteer and diversity and inclusion programs to limit the negative impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In facing the public health crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, Mattos Filho acted strategically to reduce its economic, social and health-related impacts while promoting and defending the rights of groups whose situation became even more vulnerable.
The firm focused its efforts on three main fronts — social projects in the public interest, promoting and defending the human rights of specific groups, as well as promoting solidarity within society.
The resulting initiatives were carried out via the expansion of pro bono legal services the firm offers to civil society organizations and individuals, the strengthening of both volunteering programs (Mova) and diversity and inclusion programs, and collaborating with initiatives that our clients promote.
“The pandemic created a humanitarian crisis which demanded a rapid response. We worked with our business partners to ensure that effective action was taken to combat Covid-19 and defend the rights of particularly vulnerable groups,” explained Flavia Regina Oliveira, a partner in the Charities, Social Business and Human Rights and Mattos Filho 100% Pro Bono practice areas. “This demonstrates how we can harness our expertise for the benefit of society, continuing our commitment to strengthening and expanding the social role of legal practice, especially in such an important period with so many challenges.”
Social projects in the public interest
Taking this scenario into account, Mattos Filho offered its legal expertise to society. In 2020, our professionals devoted more than 4,100 hours to projects seeking to minimize the negative impacts of the pandemic. Their knowledge of highly technical questions and issues was fundamental in enabling public interest social projects to go ahead — such as those concerning hospital services and the development of income generation and social assistance programs.
Among the first initiatives that the firm supported was the installation of field hospitals in Campinas (São Paulo) and the city of Rio de Janeiro and the donation of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) to public health clinics (UBS) in the state of São Paulo.
Working in collaboration with the University of São Paulo’s Faculty of Medicine and Polytechnic School, Mattos Filho participated in a project approving the reuse of PPE. The equipment was then donated to healthcare services in remote areas of Brazil and other countries so that the distribution of safety equipment could be expanded further.
The firm also supported the creation of an online platform to sell protective masks at low cost, which was developed by Brazilian online marketplace companies Zoom (not to be confused with the online meeting platform of the same name) and Buscapé. For every mask sold on the platform, another was donated to vulnerable groups. In cooperation with JP Morgan, contracts were signed to formalize donations for Hospital São Paulo and the Santa Casa de Misericórdia de São Paulo hospital.
Mattos Filho also took part in initiatives concerning coronavirus testing. In collaboration with the Brazilian companies Renovatio, Cia de Consulta and Vitta, the firm joined the Movimento #2em2 (‘2in2 Movement’) to widen the population’s access to detection tests. A testing kit was donated to the public health system for every test purchased on the initiative’s official platform. In an agreement with the Ministry of Health, Mattos Filho cooperated with the diagnostic medicine group Dasa to expand the testing system for coronavirus in Brazil, while also contributing to the development of the Covid Radar initiative, which focuses on mapping coronavirus-related data in Brazil.
“Our culture is grounded in social responsibility with the premise of collaborating with business partners, experts in their field. Faced with the devastating social, economic and health-related impacts brought on by Covid-19 in Brazil, the firm has joined in efforts with different stakeholders to significantly expand the positive impact of its social work. There is no question that a law firm as prominent as Mattos Filho should strive to make social contributions in the unprecedented and uncertain times we live in,” said Laura Mattar, a manager of the firm’s Corporate Citizenship area.
Promoting and defending human rights
In addition to its support of public and private health initiatives, Mattos Filho contributed to projects focused on income distribution and social assistance while expanding the free legal services it offers to individuals and civil society organizations.
In light of the Covid-19 crisis, the firm also used its technical expertise to promote and defend human rights. Digital material addressing the rights of people with disabilities, refugees, immigrants, people of color, the LGBTQIAP+ population and women was published in cooperation with local and international organizations with solid foundations in human rights. The themes of the publications were developed internally by the firm’s various affinity groups. Other content was also created to highlight the importance of quality information in combating fake news and the impact of the pandemic on civil society organizations (learn more in the chapter ‘Taking Care of the Firm’s Professionals’).
“Our teams work tirelessly to ensure the various initiatives are carried out on time, within the scope of the law. It is very rewarding to know that we have been able to make relevant contributions in our role as legal professionals,” mentioned Bianca dos Santos Waks, a coordinating associate in Mattos Filho’s 100% pro bono practice area.
With the arrival of social distancing, Mova — Mattos Filho’s volunteer program — had to reinvent itself, becoming Mova Digital. Activities had to be carried out with this distancing in mind for the safety of volunteers and beneficiaries. Though this seemed somewhat limiting at first, it allowed Mova to expand its activities beyond the regions where its volunteers reside.
Mova Digital carried out several different actions during 2020. One involved collecting and organizing sanitizer gel for a retirement home in Vila Mariana, a neighborhood in São Paulo. Volunteers also kept in touch with residents by telephone, checking up on them at least once a week. A similar initiative was also undertaken with both palliative care patients and children at the Hospital do Câncer de Barretos, a hospital for cancer patients in the interior of São Paulo, as visits had to be limited due to the pandemic.
Meanwhile, aiming to keep young people assisted by education organization Dream Learn Work motivated in times of social distancing and isolation, Mattos Filho ran a series of webinars addressing a range of topics, from culture and well-being to legal matters and civil behavior. Finally, in conjunction with the organization Parceiros da Educação, the Abra a Gaveta (‘Open Your Drawer!’) campaign promoted the donation of computers, tablets and mobile phones to public school students in São Paulo, facilitating their attendance in online classes.