Thomson Reuters Foundation’s TrustLaw: Free Legal Services for NGOs

TrustLaw is the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s global pro bono legal programme. It connects the best law firms and corporate legal teams around the world with high-impact NGOs and social enterprises working to create social and environmental change. It produces groundbreaking legal research, and offer innovative training courses worldwide.

Through TrustLaw, over 100,000 lawyers offer their time and knowledge to help organisations achieve their social mission for free. This means NGOs and social enterprises can focus on their impact instead of spending vital resources on legal support.

TrustLaw works with over 550 legal teams across 170 countries that generously support the legal requests of TrustLaw NGO and social enterprise members for free.

How it works
Legal teams, NGOs and social enterprises can join TrustLaw for free. Once members, NGOs and social enterprises can request free legal support, and lawyers can volunteer to work on exciting pro bono projects.

Lawyers
Each week, lawyers will receive an email listing pro bono projects available across the global network. Lawyers can submit an offer of interest for a project, and the NGO or social enterprise client will choose which legal team to work with. Selecting projects to support is entirely at the discretion of the lawyer.

NGOs and Social Enterprises
Post a request for free legal assistance on TrustLaw’s online portal and then speak with TrustLaw about your legal needs. Once finalised, TrustLaw legal members will be able to see your legal request.

Lawyers in the network will have two weeks to volunteer to help. Then TrustLaw will send the offers of support to the NGO or social enterprise to select which legal team they would like to work with.

The pro bono projects TrustLaw supports range from operational legal issues for NGOs and social enterprises, including general commercial, intellectual property and employment matters, to international cross-border legal research.

Examples include:

  • Advocacy: Research on laws in multiple countries, comparing best (and worst) practices.
  • Your staff: Employment and volunteer agreements
  • Structuring: Helping to select the right legal entity for your NGO or social enterprise.
  • Funding: Partnership or funding agreements.
  • Protecting your brand and ideas: Trademark registration, copyright, patents and licensing.

For more information, visit http://www.trust.org/trustlaw/

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