TrustLaw

TrustLaw

TrustLaw is the Thomson Reuters Foundation's global pro bono legal programme. We connect the world's leading legal teams to provide free legal assistance to organisations working for social and environmental change. We work with over 450 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. If TrustLaw hasn’t found help by the end of the two-week period, we'll keep looking until we’ve found free legal assistance.

Types of legal support
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.

To apply for TrustLaw membership, please click here. 
For FAQs, please click here.
 

At a Glance

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Problem

There is a growing need for legal assistance around the world. TrustLaw spreads the practice of pro bono by connecting NGOs and social enterprises with legal teams who 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. 

We have supported grassroots organisations to employ their first staff members, helped vulnerable women access loans to start their first businesses and brought renewable energy lighting to slums. Free legal assistance on these small projects has had a big impact on local communities working to overcome poverty and discrimination. At a global scale, we have supported legal reform activities to protect the rights of millions of domestic workers, changed legislation to support victims of violence, produced guides to protect people who experience street harassment, and crafted tools to support the prosecution of trafficking offenders.