TrustLaw

TrustLaw is the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s global pro bono legal service. 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. With a community of more than 6,500 members in over 190 countries, TrustLaw is the world’s largest global pro bono network.

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About us

For over a decade, TrustLaw has helped transform the pro bono landscape: expanding access to legal support for NGOs and social enterprises at the frontlines of social change and working with law firms and in-house legal departments to develop and strengthen their pro bono practices across the globe.

TrustLaw has grown to become the world’s largest global pro bono network. Through the facilitation of pro bono legal support and research, as well as the provision of resources for organisations across the globe, we work to advance media freedom, foster more inclusive economies, and promote human rights.

Meet the Team

How it Works

TrustLaw is a completely free service. Once a member, 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 world’s largest global pro bono network, with more than 6,500 NGO and social enterprise members and lawyers. We also collaborate with policy makers, academia, businesses, journalists and media houses to advance media freedom, foster more inclusive economies and promote human rights.

  • 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

    Our NGO and social enterprise members range from large international organisations to smaller, local charities and social enterprises. Our members work to address a broad spectrum of issues, including women’s rights; human trafficking and slavery; refugees’ rights and forced migration; LGBT rights; freedom of expression; and environmental and land rights.

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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

Impact is at the core of our work. Core to TrustLaw’s mission is facilitating free legal support to advance media freedom, foster more inclusive economies and promote human rights, as aligned to the focus areas of the Foundation’s work.

Over the past decade, examples of TrustLaw’s impact have included: helping organisations to protect domestic worker rights in the Philippines; supporting the ban of conversion therapy for LGBTQ+ youth; improving access to HIV self-testing in Africa; outlawing child marriage across the US; fighting social exclusion through housing rights in Latin America; harnessing the power of technology to bring war criminals to justice; and driving innovations that improve neonatal survival in developing countries.

We have trained more than 350 lawyers in the emerging fields of social entrepreneurship, ESG and social finance, equipping them to better serve social innovators and impact investors who are tackling some of most significant challenges of our time. By bringing together academia, policy makers, journalists and the private sector we have also produced ground-breaking tools and resources that have catalysed progress for vulnerable communities around the world.

Areas of Impact

Over the last decade, TrustLaw has facilitated over $225 million worth of free legal support for NGOs and social enterprises working to advance media freedom, foster more inclusive economies and promote human rights.

  • Human Rights

    The fight to secure or defend human rights around the world is ongoing, with basic freedoms and access to necessities being threatened or failing to exist entirely. TrustLaw facilitates legal assistance and research to support frontline human rights organisations around the world.
  • Inclusive Economies

    Growing inequality, the climate crisis and modern slavery are among the biggest challenges of our time. They are generating a deepening economic and social divide and hurting our planet. TrustLaw works with journalists, lawyers, policymakers, civil society and the private sector to foster equitable, participatory and sustainable economies.
  • Media Freedom

    Media outlets are facing unprecedented challenges and there is an alarming increase in attacks on journalists around the world. TrustLaw develops practical and legal tools for journalists, media managers and newsrooms to strengthen responses to online and offline harassment and to protect free and independent media.

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.

  • 'Know Your Rights' Guide for journalists covering protests in the United States

    Through TrustLaw, the Committee to Protect Journalists were connected with Allen & Overy to produce a ‘Know Your Rights’ Guide summarising journalists’ rights when confronted by law enforcement officers while covering a protest or other political event in the US.
    Read
  • Protecting the labour rights of Mexican domestic workers during COVID-19

    Through TrustLaw, Parvada Estrategias were connected with Hogan Lovells Mexico to develop a manual that summarises domestic workers’ rights.
    Read
  • Powering affordable clean air in new markets through pro bono legal support

    Through pro bono assistance facilitated through TrustLaw, Smart Air has been able to scale their operations and supply air purifiers in more than 10 countries.
    Read
More Stories of Impact

Training and Events

TrustLaw hosts a range of capacity-building events both in-person and online to provide practical guidance on issues relevant to our members and partners. We also run accredited legal training, such as social enterprise and impact investing training.

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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.

2022 Awards Ceremony

Previous Awards

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.

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
  • Championing Pro Bono: A Guide to Assessing and Strengthening Your Pro Bono Work

    This Championing Pro Bono Guide is designed to help legal teams globally with their pro bono work. It is our aim that the Guide can be used by legal teams of all sizes and at all stages of their pro bono work.
    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.

  • Gender Pay Gap Reporting: A Comparative analysis

    This report maps international gender pay gap reporting legislation, with the goal of highlighting best practices internationally and a way forward for the UK. It compares legislations in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Britain, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Japan, Spain and Sweden.
    Read
  • Practical Guide for Women Journalists on how to Respond to Online Harassment

    This guide provides concrete actions that women journalists can take both in limiting the risk of certain types of digital attacks and when facing harassment and gender-based violence online.
    Read
  • ‘Know-Your-Voting Rights’ Guide for people experiencing Homelessness

    This ‘Know Your Voting Rights’ Guide for people experiencing homelessness reviews the legislation applicable to election law and voting rights in all 50 U.S. States in a comprehensive and user-friendly format.
    Read
More Tools & Resources

Index of Pro Bono

The TrustLaw Index of Pro Bono was 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 2020 Index collected data from over 215 firms, representing lawyers in 91 jurisdictions.

Our data shows lawyers donated 3.9 million hours of their time assisting charities, non-profits, social enterprises, and individuals free of charge. On average lawyers committed one week (26.3 hours) to pro bono.

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

2020 Findings 2016 Findings 2015 Findings 2014 Findings

As the world faces an unprecedented set of challenges posed by the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Thomson Reuters Foundation is leveraging its unique blend of journalism and legal skills to strengthen the global response. Our global pro bono legal network, TrustLaw, is working closely with our legal partners to increase efforts to provide dedicated pro bono support during these challenging times.

Find out more