TrustLaw, a free pro bono legal assistance platform for NGOs and social enterprises

The Thomson Reuters Foundation provides a free, pro bono legal assistance service worldwide, through its TrustLaw platform. Through it, it seeks to connect high impact organizations and social companies with pro bono legal advisors so that they can carry out their operations more efficiently and thus avoid having to allocate resources for legal advice.

The TrustLaw program was created to spread the pro bono practice and drive social change through the world. On the one hand, it provides free legal assistance so that NGOs and social enterprises can streamline their operations and reduce expenses. On the other hand, it promotes research, as a tool to achieve legal and political reforms and strengthen the rule of law in order to boost its mission with a positive impact. At the same time, it develops training spaces and events to give practical guidance on legal issues to NGOs and social enterprises. Finally, TrusLaw give tools and resources to its members to address their needs and strengthen pro bono activity.

A few examples of research cases in Latin America are: a) the right to proper housing in Latin America and b) Legal Guide for social enterprises in Argentina.

To access this service, free of charge, the following requirements must be met:

  • social organizations must be legally constituted and registered in a country;
  • have a social, environmental or humanitarian mission;
  • be sustainable;
  • have an action plan that includes beneficiaries, impact and activities;
  • they must not be political, discriminatory, or proselytizing.

In addition, social organizations must complete a brief one-time membership form on the official website of the foundation. And, for their part, social enterprises must make a public demonstration that they will reinvest most of their profits to social, environmental or humanitarian ends.

The TrustLaw platform is a powerful and essential tool for those NGOs and social enterprise. In this way, they can distribute resources more efficiently to their mission and build communication networks between legal advisors committed to the social sector and social organizations.

For more information, visit the Thompson Reuters Foundation website: http://www.trust.org/trustlaw/.