A free online service promoting the practice of global pro bono legal work, TrustLaw, was launched in June by the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of information and news provider Thomson Reuters. TrustLaw is also an international information hub on anti-corruption and governance issues.
The primary role of TrustLaw is to provide a free international marketplace for pro bono projects, connecting lawyers with those who are unable to pay but need legal assistance.
At the time of launch the uniquely ambitious service already had over 190 partners signed up across the globe, including over 60 leading law firms, 80 NGOs and almost as many social entrepreneurs. The new service (www.trust.org/trustlaw) will widen access to the rule of law and promote greater transparency, empowering people with trusted information and free legal assistance.
Speaking at the launch, Monique Villa, CEO of the Thomson Reuters Foundation said, “At a time of great economic uncertainty, legal support is more important than ever for organisations addressing the critical social and environmental issues of our age. The Thomson Reuters Foundation has set itself an ambitious goal: to create a truly international new marketplace connecting those in need of free legal assistance with those able to provide it – anywhere in the world. The dramatic response we have already seen from the non-profit and legal communities highlights the appetite and need for such a service.”
Connecting donor and recipient is TrustLaw Connect, a unique online platform, offered free to all members. TrustLaw Connect enables fast, efficient connections while acting as a trusted intermediary, carefully vetting participants to ensure confidence in the requests and assistance provided.
On the Trustlaw Connect service, Stuart Popham, Senior Partner Worldwide at Clifford Chance said at the launch event: “Trustlaw is a great concept that will really help lawyers fulfil their social responsibilities. It is independent, cutting edge and has already got the support of large parts of the international legal community. It will reach those around the world most in need, even those who are furthest from the protection of the law. I am delighted to be involved with this unique new marketplace.”
Leading law firms such as Slaughter and May, Eversheds, Herbert Smith, Torys, Bird & Bird and Beirut Legal have already assisted NGOs and entrepreneurs through the Trustlaw Connect network.
For example the charity EveryChild UK has been partnered by leading global firm Slaughter and May to advise the international charity on the impact of a new UK employment directive relating to the use of temporary agency staff.
The Thomson Reuters Foundation also runs: