Bruce Lasky trains young lawyers in Asia to defend the poor and powerless

Christian Science Monitor

September 28, 2012

HANOI, VIETNAM

Bruce Lasky distinctly remembers the advice he once received from a colleague in a Floridapublic defender’s office. “We’re lawyers,” the colleague said. “Not social workers.”

But Mr. Lasky, then fresh out of law school, didn’t agree. He saw the legal system as a tool for empowering the disadvantaged. In Florida he spent nine years representing low-income adults and juveniles charged with offenses ranging from drug possession to theft and murder.

And for the past 13 years, the New York City native has quietly championed legal reform in Southeast Asia, a region where poverty is widespread, the rule of law is often weak, and governments are criticized for alleged violations of human rights.

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