TrustLaw hosts first regional awards in India

by Maeve Halpin
Wednesday, 18 April 2018 14:29 GMT

Breakthrough, winners of the “TrustLaw Recognition of Excellence Award” with Thomson Reuters Foundation CEO Monique Villa, TrustLaw Programme Officer Simit Bhagat, and Mr. Lalit Bhasin. Antonio Zappulla / New Delhi, April 10 2018

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TrustLaw, the Thomson Reuters Foundation's global pro bono legal programme, hosted its first regional TrustLaw Awards in India last week. Over forty representatives from India’s top legal firms, NGOs and social enterprises gathered in New Delhi to celebrate their achievements through TrustLaw and engage in powerful discussions on legal pro bono in India.

TrustLaw has been active in India since its creation in 2010, and now engages with over 350 NGO and social enterprise members and 85 law firms based across the country. Membership continues to thrive, growing by 20% in 2017.

Along with Monique Villa, CEO of the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the event featured keynote speaker Mr. Lalit Bhasin, the President of the Bar Association of India and Society of Indian Law Firms and Managing Partner at Bhasin & Co.

“Pro bono legal work in India dates back to the colonial times. In fact, I assisted my first client on a pro bono basis. It is great to see so many law firms and legal teams devoting their time in carrying out pro bono work in India and the institutionalizing of this practice through TrustLaw,” said Mr. Bhasin.

The recipients of the evening’s award, TrustLaw Recognition of Excellence, were recognised for their exceptional work which has impacted lives across India.

Last year, Hewlett Packard Enterprise gave legal advice and assistance on 18 projects, including employment matters and the drafting of child protection and sexual harassment policies, working with organisations such as Equal Community Foundation and Justice Ventures International.

In 2017, lawyers from Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas and Co worked on several projects, giving structuring and tax advice to non-profits, as well as critical advice on acid legislation tackling acid violence worldwide.

PLR Chambers worked with the Women Media News Trust, a charitable digital media organisation that trains rural women as professional journalists, and produces a newspaper known for reporting on issues and regions ignored by the mainstream media. Thanks to the legal advice they received, the charity was able to start conducting revenue-generating activities and ensure a sustainable future for itself.

RNA, IP Attorneys  worked with 7 projects in 2017, in particular providing legal assistance  to Enfold Proactive Health Trust, a non-profit trust with the mission of creating safe spaces for children, and the Fight Hunger Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to the treatment and prevention of malnutrition in children, has impacted so many children’s lives across India.

Traditionally, the TrustLaw Awards recognise the contribution of TrustLaw legal members, however TrustLaw wanted to take this opportunity to reward our NGO members who are making a positive change in the world.  

TrustLaw honoured Breakthrough’s exceptional work on the issue of violence and discrimination against women and girls. Their innovative campaigns, tools and programmes reach and impact so many lives in India and build a world in which all people live with dignity, equality, and justice.

“We have been actively working with TrustLaw to create a meaningful social change through law. We contributed with about 400 hours of pro bono work in 2017 in India and this is the same sentiment across various HPE offices across the world. We look forward to contributing more to this programme going forward,” said Drushya Sridhar, pro bono coordinator at HPE India.

For more information on pro bono in India, visit the 2016 TrustLaw Index of Pro Bono.

For information on TrustLaw’s Impact Stories: