Shared value and pro bono around the world

August 22, 2013

Vote to make a differenceBringing business and society together to create social impact is not always easy. But when it happens, it can achieve remarkable change.

Launched by the Thomson Reuters Foundation in 2010, TrustLaw Connect, a global pro bono service, seeks to do just that. By connecting the best law firms around the world with high-impact non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and social enterprises in need of free legal support, the service embodies the spirit of shared value.

Providing NGOs and social enterprises with legal support crucial to their operations and policies saves them significant resources and enables them to focus on their mission. Our service also makes it easy for lawyers around the world to participate in high-impact pro bono projects and increase the scale and quality of their public interest work.

But we don’t just connect. We support key law reform and advocacy efforts through publishing and promoting comparative research on laws and policies across the world. We foster social innovation by publishing clear guidance on establishing and structuring social enterprises and charities in different jurisdictions. And we seek to spread the practice of pro bono outside of traditional markets and facilitate relationships between lawyers and civil society across the world.

In three years, our team has facilitated over 700 connections, providing legal advice crucial to our members’ operations and policy aims in over 145 countries. Our research programs on key issues – ranging from human trafficking to microfinance and women’s rights – have had measurable impact. For example, our global research on domestic workers rights was successfully used by anti-trafficking NGO Visayan Forum to lobby the Philippine Government for better rights for domestic workers, resulting in new legislation being passed in January 2013.

The evidence is clear: pro bono can be a powerful driver for social change, and a win-win solution for both business and society.

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