Announcing the winners of the 2022 TrustLaw Awards

by Thomson Reuters Foundation
Tuesday, 7 June 2022 15:19 GMT

Now in their 11th year, the TrustLaw Awards celebrate groundbreaking pro bono projects undertaken by legal teams on behalf of NGOs and social enterprises in the TrustLaw network.

Since 2010, the TrustLaw network has grown exponentially. More than 5,500 NGOs and social enterprises are members,  receiving free legal assistance from 1000+ law firms and in-house corporate counsels. The pro bono service has facilitated 8,400 legal projects across 175 countries – empowering thousands of organisations to achieve greater impact.

The ceremony was opened by the Foundation’s Chief Executive Officer, Antonio Zappulla OMRI, who highlighted that the total value of free legal assistance facilitated through TrustLaw since 2010 now stands at $225 million USD. 

“The projects being awarded today show us what is possible when we combine our expertise across sectors for the common good. Even in the most uncertain of times, collaboration can effect positive change,” said Antonio.  

“These are only a handful of activities from the past year that are supporting those on the ground with the right resources to better serve their communities. All of this would not have been made possible without the generosity of our legal partners; that is what we celebrate and encourage more widely today.”

Carolina Henriquez-Schmitz, Director of TrustLaw at the Thomson Reuters Foundation, outlined the roadmap for the transformation of the TrustLaw service. By expanding and innovating its programming, TrustLaw will better leverage the expertise and power of its community as a global changemaker.

 “Through this transformation, we hope TrustLaw and our vibrant global community will be even better equipped to drive successful, innovative pro bono projects that strengthen civil society, respond to ongoing global threats and increase access to legal support for vulnerable communities when and where it is most critically needed,” she said.

The event also saw Nicholas Glicher, the Foundation’s Chief Operating Officer, joined by Dr S. Chelvan, Barrister and Head of Immigration and Public Law at 33 Bedford Row, and Farah Nazeer, Chief Executive Officer of Women’s Aid, for an inspirational panel discussion on the role of the law and civil society in responding to surging threats to humanity. 

"We see the interconnected nature of crises now more than ever before. Ripples reach out and touch us all in ways we would never imagine. These complex problems require complex solutions, and it is only by bringing together the skills, expertise and resources of a range of different actors that we can find responses at the scale they are truly needed. The legal sector and civil society both play a key role here," said Nicholas.

2022 TrustLaw Award Winners

The diversity of this year’s winners epitomises TrustLaw’s success in strengthening the practice of pro bono worldwide to support NGOs and social enterprises.

TrustLaw Collaboration Award: Supporting Venezuelan migrants in the Americas

The TrustLaw Collaboration Award went to Venezuelan non-profit Un Mundo Sin Mordaza and law firms Philippi Prietocarrioza Ferrero DU & Uría from Colombia and Peru; Robalino Abogados from Ecuador; Foley Hoag from the US; Mattos Filho, Veiga Filho, Marrey Jr. e Quiroga Advogados from Brazil; Morales, Besa y Cía Ltda from Chile; and Richards, Cardinal, Tutzer, Zabala & Zaefferer from Argentina, for developing a legal guide that summarises laws and regulations applicable to Venezuelan migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers in seven host countries.  Read more.

TrustLaw COVID-19 Response Award: Helping survivors escape abuse in the UK  

Women’s Aid and law firm Milbank received the TrustLaw COVID-19 Response Award for spearheading efforts to formalise a ‘Rail to Refuge’ scheme in the UK which provided survivors of domestic abuse free train travel to a safe place at a recognised refuge during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As of December 2021, the scheme has enabled around 2,000 people, predominantly women, including 500 children, to escape domestic violence. Read more.

TrustLaw Impact Award: Protecting journalists during protests in the US

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), a US-based non-profit, and law firm Allen & Overy, won the TrustLaw Impact Award for developing a ‘Know Your Rights’ guide for journalists covering protests in the US.

The guide filled a gap in the safety information available to journalists in the US and has been shared by CPJ with journalists and newsrooms ahead of several planned protests following the summer of 2020. It has been read more than 1,000 times on CPJ’s website and continues to be circulated amongst media professionals, including by the White House Correspondents Association, Online SOS, and U.S. Press Freedom Tracker.  Read more.

 

TrustLaw Powered by Pro Bono Award: Improving access to affordable air purifiers in Asia

Smart Air, a social enterprise based in China, and law firms Gibson Dunn & Crutcher; White & Case; Latham & Watkins; DLA Piper; Baker Botts; Weerawong, Chinnavat & Partners Ltd; and SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan won the TrustLaw Powered by Pro Bono Award for helping the organisation expand its operations and provide its affordable air purifiers to more countries in Asia.  Read more 

TrustLaw International Law Firm of the Year: Eversheds Sutherland

The TrustLaw International Law Firm of the Year Award was given to Eversheds Sutherland for providing free legal assistance on a large number of advisory projects, including advising on webinar sessions, to non-profits and social enterprises in Europe and the US through TrustLaw in 2021.

TrustLaw Regional Law Firm of the Year Award

The TrustLaw Regional Law Firm of the Year Award was presented to Bowmans for its pro bono legal assistance on various advisory and research projects in Africa through TrustLaw between 2020 and 2021.

TrustLaw In-house Legal Team of the Year Award: DXC Technology

DXC Technology, a US-based information technology services and consulting company, was announced the winner of the TrustLaw In-House Legal Team of the Year Award for offering pro bono expertise on a range of projects, including those related to intellectual property and trademark, to Europe and US-based NGOs and social enterprises.

TrustLaw Lawyer of the Year Award: Fernanda Gajardo Manríquez

From more than 50 nominees received from NGOs and social enterprises, Fernanda Gajardo Manríquez from Chile’s law firm Q&G Abogados was voted in an online poll as the TrustLaw Lawyer of the Year. She contributed to projects related to research on improving the quality of journalism in Argentina and governance assistance for non-profits to support underserved communities through emerging technologies.