Foundation Generates $54 Million in Free Legal Support through TrustLaw

by Thomson Reuters Foundation
Tuesday, 4 November 2014 09:55 GMT
Announcement made by CEO Monique Villa at TrustLaw Awards Ceremony in London

The fourth annual TrustLaw Awards ceremony opened with a very special announcement: Foundation CEO Monique Villa announced that since 2010, the Foundation’s global pro bono programme has generated $54 million worth of free legal support for non-profits and social enterprises.

“Talking of impact,” said Monique Villa, “we have now 450 law firm members, 53 of them in India, 13 in mainland China, and 15 in Brazil. Every day, we witness increasing demand for assistance, ranging from basic legal support to complex cross-border legal research. Through TrustLaw, we have brought pro bono to countries that traditionally never encouraged this practice. The fact that in the past four years, the lawyers in our network donated the equivalent of $54 million in billable hours shows that law firms - big and small, local or international - are increasingly committed to using their time and knowledge to contribute to social progress,” she added.

 Over 300 high-level representatives from the global TrustLaw community gathered at the beautiful St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel to celebrate the success of the fast-growing network of lawyers, social enterprises and high-impact NGOs. Launched in July 2010, TrustLaw now boasts over 2,200 members across 170 countries, including over 450 law firms and 1,750 high-impact social enterprises and NGOs.

Among those celebrating the success of TrustLaw included: Honourable Justice Ayotunde Phillips from Nigeria, who gave the keynote speech, and many others, including lawyers, NGOs, and social entrepreneurs from as far away as Australia, Argentina, Brazil and South Africa.

The annual TrustLaw Awards recognises lawyers and legal teams through seven awards: the Impact Award, Innovation Award, Collaboration Award, Lawyer of the Year Award, and Legal Team of the Year Award (International, Domestic, and In-House).

The winners were presented with prizes–Reuters pictures–at a ceremony held at St. Pancras Hotel in London. The winners of the 2014 Awards included:

Impact Award: Vinson & Elkins, Drew & Napier and McCarthy Tétrault working with Beijing Zhongze Women's Legal Counseling and Service Center to research compensation for rape victims and rape laws relating to underage victims

Innovation Award: HSA Advocates working with Pollinate Energy to distribute solar panels in urban slums of India and partner with microfinance institutions.

Collaboration Award: Arnold & Porter, Norton Rose Fulbright, and eight other law firms working with Southern African AIDS Trust to conduct research on the legal frameworks and human rights implications of HIV self testing.

International Firm of the Year: McDermott Will & Emery

Domestic Firm of the Year: Doulah & Doulah (Bangladesh)

In-House Team of the Year: Hewlett-Packard

Lawyer of the Year Award: Caroline Stakim, Morrison & Foerster

Learn about the full impact of the winning projects – watch the videos showcasing the Awards winners.

See additional photos from the Awards ceremony.