TrustLaw

TrustLaw is the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s global pro bono legal programme. We connect high-impact NGOs and social enterprises working to create social and environmental change with the best law firms and corporate legal teams to provide them with free legal assistance. We produce groundbreaking legal research and offer innovative training courses worldwide.

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About us

TrustLaw was created to spread excellence in the practice of pro bono and drive social change worldwide.

Free legal assistance: Our free legal service enables NGOs and social enterprises to streamline operations, expand into new countries and scale their impact. This helps them focus on their mission without spending valuable resources on their legal needs.

Research: Our research programmes are powerful advocacy tools that enable TrustLaw’s NGO and social enterprise members to achieve unprecedented legal and policy reforms and strengthen the rule of law. We have helped change legislation to support victims of violence, assisted advocacy efforts to combat sex discrimination and supported legal reform activities to strengthen the rights of the LGBT community.

Training and events: We run accredited legal training on social enterprise and impact investing as well as capacity-building workshops and webinars to provide practical guidance on legal issues relevant to NGOs and social enterprises.

Tools and resources: TrustLaw produces a wide range of tools to help our NGO and social enterprise members address their legal needs and support their advocacy efforts. We also provide legal teams with the resources to build and strengthen their pro bono practice, navigate regulatory requirements and engage in successful pro bono partnerships.

More about the Thomson Reuters Foundation

Where we are

The TrustLaw team is spread around the globe, with staff in Argentina, Hong Kong, India, Kenya, Mexico, Spain, Thailand, the UK and the US.

Meet the Team

How it Works

TrustLaw is a completely free service. Once they become members, NGOs and social enterprises can request free legal support, and lawyers can volunteer to work on projects that interest them.


Our Members

TrustLaw is the largest global pro bono network with over 4,000 members across more than 175 countries. We work with hundreds of legal teams representing over 120,000 lawyers who generously provide free legal support to thousands of NGOs and social enterprises.

  • Legal
    Teams

    TrustLaw has regional and global reach. Our network includes both large international law firms and smaller domestic firms, in-house legal teams and individual lawyers. All members are qualified in their respective jurisdictions and meet local bar association requirements.

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  • NGOs and
    Social Enterprises

    With a presence in over 175 countries, we support more than 3,000 organisations with free legal assistance. Our NGO and social enterprise members address a wealth of different issues, including women’s rights, human trafficking and slavery, refugees and forced migration, LGBT rights, freedom of expression, environmental and land rights.See our membership criteria for NGOs and social enterprises.

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  • Referral
    Partners

    Our Referral Partner network of funders and award bodies ensures that we can have the widest reach possible. Through these partnerships, we aim to support their grantees, fellows, members and award winners with free legal assistance.

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Our Impact

TrustLaw is the world’s largest facilitator of free legal services. Since we launched just over six years ago, we have generated the equivalent of $85 million in free legal assistance to NGOs and social enterprises on the frontlines of social change.

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 projects has made a significant impact on local communities working to overcome poverty and discrimination.

Our research programmes are powerful advocacy tools that enable our NGO and social enterprise members to achieve groundbreaking legal and policy reforms and strengthen the rule of law. We have crafted tools to deliver justice for victims of human trafficking and slavery, assisted advocacy efforts to combat sex discrimination and improved policies to help diagnose HIV/AIDS.

  • "The IRC would highly recommend partnering with TrustLaw for any organisation with limited capacity to conduct legal analysis. Without the support of Latham & Watkins it would have been impossible to obtain the level of legal expertise required to protect refugees adequately. We are deeply grateful to TrustLaw for their support"David Miliband, President & CEO, International Rescue Committee

  • "TrustLaw has been instrumental in helping us launch and sustain cutting edge projects that protect the rights of girls and women both nationally and internationally.  They have supported our work with Orrick to combat online sexual violence, identified by the FBI as the fastest growing threat to children and teens. The work has been published in a highly acclaimed report “A Call to Action: Ending Sextortion in the Digital Age"Carol Robles-Román, President and CEO, Legal Momentum

  • "We could not accomplish what we do globally without our partnership with TrustLaw. TrustLaw provides critical legal services to hundreds of social enterprises, charities and nonprofits, and it enables lawyers to experience the joy and gratification of contributing engaging in pro bono work, in some cases for the very first time."Wendy Atrokhov, Public Service Counsel, Latham & Watkins

  • "Every week, TrustLaw connects us to an exceptional choice of matters that reflect today’s pressing issues. In doing so, TrustLaw has created an extraordinary marketplace for pro bono services — one that has helped global law firms spread their wings."Hugh Verrier, Chairman, White & Case

  • "Our lawyers always enjoy the projects we receive from TrustLaw more than the pro bono projects we find on our own, as they present more complex legal issues to work on. More importantly, we know these projects are mission-critical to our pro bono clients. Through this work, we can have a real impact on the future of the client’s operations."Andrew Stoutley, Director of Administration, Tilleke & Gibbins

Areas of Impact

Impact is at the core of our work. We equip our members with the legal tools they need to affect real change in their respective fields.

  • Social Innovation

    TrustLaw is helping to unlock innovative solutions to some of the world’s most intractable social and environmental challenges.
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  • Modern Slavery

    Upholding the rule of law is is fundamental to making progress in the fight against modern slavery. We support the best organisations working to end this global scourge.
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  • Women's Rights

    Our research programmes bring legal weight to campaigns working to secure social, political, economic and reproductive rights for women worldwide.
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Stories of Impact

Read the latest stories of impact featuring the lawyers, NGOs and social enterprises committed to using the law to fight for social change.

  • Ending child marriage in the US, one state at a time

    White & Case teamed up with advocacy group Unchained At Last to support its fight to pass legislation that would end child marriage in the US.
    Read
  • Supporting innovation to save newborn babies

    Microsoft’s in-house legal team partnered with Bempu Health, a healthcare social enterprise, to help register an innovative temperature monitoring bracelet designed to detect neonatal hypothermia and reduce child mortality in India.
    Read
  • Legal research provides grounds to ban conversion therapy for LGBT youth

    Kirkland & Ellis and LGBT rights NGO Equality Illinois joined forces to successfully advocate for the ban of conversion therapy for LGBT youth in Illinois.
    Read
More Stories of Impact

TrustLaw Awards

The TrustLaw Awards is an annual ceremony to celebrate groundbreaking pro bono work undertaken by legal teams on behalf of NGOs and social enterprises around the world.

Impact Award: projects that demonstrate significant, wide-ranging impact for an NGO or social enterprise, their community, and beyond.

Innovation Award: projects that feature not only a new and exciting idea or enterprise, but a legal team that used creativity in addressing the issues faced.

Collaboration Award: projects that showcase excellence working relationships between legal teams, NGOs and social enterprises.

Lawyer of the Year Award: an individual lawyer or team of lawyers who have provided exceptional pro bono support.

Legal Team of the Year Award: teams that demonstrate dedication and enthusiasm in supporting pro bono clients in three categories: domestic law firm, international law firm, and in-house legal team.

Meet the 2017 Awards Nominees

2016 Awards

The 2016 TrustLaw Awards were held on 22 September 2016 in New York with our growing network of TrustLaw members from the Americas, Europe, Asia-Pacific and Africa in attendance.

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    • TrustLaw Collaboration Award 2016

    • TrustLaw Impact Award 2016

    • TrustLaw Innovation Award 2016

    • TrustLaw In-House Legal Team of the Year Award 2016

    • TrustLaw International Firm of the Year Award 2016

    • TrustLaw Domestic Firm of the Year Award 2016

    • TrustLaw Lawyer of the Year Award 2016

Previous Awards

Index of Pro Bono

The TrustLaw Index of Pro Bono is the first global survey measuring the amount of pro bono practised by law firms across the world.

By highlighting successful pro bono programmes and providing benchmarks on pro bono participation and related trends in different jurisdictions, the Index is an vital tool to help spread the practice of pro bono.

It offers all firms a unique resource to help build robust pro bono practices, and to understand how to get the greatest impact from their pro bono work.

The 2016 Index collected data from over 130 firms, representing 64,500 lawyers in 75 countries.

Our data shows lawyers donated 2.5 million hours of their time assisting charities, non-profits, social enterprises, and individuals free of charge. On average lawyers committed one week (39.2 hours) to pro bono.

The map below details the average annual pro bono contribution of lawyers in each region.

2016 Findings 2015 Findings 2014 Findings

Training and Events

We run accredited legal training on social enterprise and impact investing, as well as legal workshops and webinars, to provide practical guidance on relevant legal issues.

  • TrustLaw Training
    TrustLaw Training: Social Enterprise & Impact Investing
    New York
    12 September 2017
    13 September 2017
  • TrustLaw Training
    TrustLaw Training: Social Enterprise & Impact Investing
    London
    3 October 2017
    5 October 2017
    10 October 2017
  • TrustLaw Events
    The Role of Women Social Entrepreneurs in Brazil
    Webinar
    5 September 2017
  • TrustLaw Events
    Legal Clinic for NGOs and Social Enterprises for Brazil
    Webinar
    13 September 2017
See All

Tools and Resources

TrustLaw produces a wide range of tools to help NGOs and social enterprises address their specific legal needs, from day-to-day operational matters to high-level research efforts. We also provide legal teams with the resources to build and strengthen their pro bono practice, navigate regulatory requirements and engage in successful pro bono partnerships.

Guides

We have published a number of “how-to” guides to help NGOs and social enterprises choose the right structure and manage ongoing governance issues. These will save our members and those outside of our network time and resources in the future, helping them streamline operations, maximise funding opportunities and achieve greater impact.

  • TrustLaw Legal Health Check for NGOs and Social Enterprises

    The TrustLaw Legal Health Check is a practical resource designed to help identify legal matters relevant to NGOs and social enterprises, and tailor our pro bono legal service to their specific needs.
    Read
  • UK Social Venture Structuring Guide

    This interactive tool is built to help social entrepreneurs in the UK determine the best legal structure for their social venture.
    Read
  • A Guide to Establishing a Social Enterprise in the US

    This guide helps social entrepreneurs navigate through the array of legal structures that are available for them in the United States.
    Read

Research

Our research addresses some of the most under-reported global issues, often comparing and analysing laws across a number of jurisdictions to highlight best practices and identify areas for reform. These resources serve as vital tools for NGOs and social enterprises to advocate for legal change and improve access to justice.

  • A Call to Action: Ending ‘Sextortion’ in the Digital Age

    This reports sheds light on the growing threat of ‘sextortion' and provides concrete examples of revisions to existing criminal statutes in order to combat this rapidly developing crime.
    Read
  • European Refugee Crisis: Legal Analysis of Laws Relating to Border Control and Asylum in Europe

    This research looks at legal issues related to border control and asylum in 12 jurisdictions to support humanitarian and policy work in response to the European refugee crisis.
    Read
  • Corporate Liability for Forced Labour and Human Trafficking

    This comparative research examines the laws and regulations that oblige corporates to address forced labour and human trafficking in their supply chains.
    Read
More Tools & Resources