TrustLaw hosts annual Café Pro Bono in London

by Maeve Halpin
Thursday, 4 April 2019 15:00 GMT

Last week, TrustLaw, the Thomson Reuters Foundation's global pro bono legal programme, hosted its annual Café Pro Bono with legal partners Cooley, Dentons, Kirkland & Ellis and Sidley Austin . The event saw over forty members of our London based NGO & social enterprise network gather to discuss legal issues impacting the social sector, including employment contracts, data protection, structuring and legal research.

In the UK, TrustLaw continues to grow its membership and expand the number of projects it supports: in 2018 the Europe team connected 270 pro bono projects in the UK - out of 1000 worldwide - and offered its service free of charge to 1,006 UK-based NGOs and social enterprises.

Shiura Rasheed, Operations Lead and UK & Europe Programme Manager at TrustLaw opened the event by saying: “Café Pro bono has always been an event that brings to life the impact of the work we do at TrustLaw. Over 9 years, TrustLaw has facilitated pro bono legal assistance worth over $134 million to NGOs and social enterprises on the frontlines of social change. Events like these show us the true impact of pro bono on the organisations we support: it is not just the financial savings but also the comfort of getting quality advice from lawyers who truly care about their cause or organisations’ mission”.

Adrian Lewis, Programme Officer, EMENA, TrustLaw and coordinator of this year’s workshop said “Cafe pro bono is an amazing opportunity to bring together representatives from the social sector and law to strengthen the organisational resilience of civil society actors.”  She noted the growing importance of this event in  Europe’s legal and regulatory environment today.

While the TrustLaw legal team and lawyers from partner firms led a series of table discussions on legal issues, members were also reminded of our Legal Health Check, a checklist that covers a broad spectrum of legal topics and helps readers identify matters relevant to their organisation and where legal advice might be needed.

At Café Pro Bono, the TrustLaw team were eager to find out about the impact that legal pro bono has had on members and their mission. New member, Ash Rahman, Chief Executive of Pro Touch SA said: “Founding an organisation that impacts your community is like putting together a puzzle with 1,000 different pieces, some of which you don’t even know exist yet! The TrustLaw service and legal pro bono is that missing piece that can help you structure your organisation, answer questions on data protection or contracts. Having that pro bono support relieves pressure on me as CEO to have all the answers and ensures that my organisation is sustainable and continues to touch lives within my community.”

After the event Thomas Komanek, Associate at Sidley Austin, said: “Café Pro Bono was a rewarding event and a great opportunity to meet potential pro bono clients in person. Sitting together with dedicated members of charities and social enterprises truly helped develop an understanding of their work and the legal issues they are facing.”

If your organisation is interested in receiving pro bono legal advice or if you’re a law firm interested in developing your pro bono work, please contact our TrustLaw team here.


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