TrustLaw Generates $54 Million Worth of Free Legal Support for Global Nonprofits

Tuesday, November 4, 2014 - 11:18

The Thomson Reuters Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the world’s biggest news and information provider, has announced that TrustLaw has generated $54 million worth of free legal support globally for nonprofit organizations and social enterprises in its first four years.

The announcement, made by CEO Monique Villa at the annual TrustLaw Awards Ceremony, confirms the rapid growth and expansion of the program. Founded in July 2010, TrustLaw is dedicated to spreading the practice of pro bono legal assistance around the world. Today, TrustLaw boasts over 2,200 members across 170 countries, including over 450 law firms and 1,750 high-impact social enterprises and NGOs.

“TrustLaw is expanding by the week: we have now 53 law firms in India, 13 in mainland China, and 15 in Brazil. Every day, we witness increasing demand for assistance, ranging from basic legal support to complex cross-border legal research. Through TrustLaw, we have brought pro bono to countries that traditionally never encouraged this practice,” said Monique Villa, CEO of the Thomson Reuters Foundation and Founder of TrustLaw.

“The fact that in the past four years, the lawyers in our network donated the equivalent of $54 million in billable hours shows that law firms – big and small, local or international – are increasingly committed to using their time and knowledge to contribute to social progress,” she added.

The annual TrustLaw Awards recognized lawyers and legal teams through five awards: the Impact Award, Innovation Award, Collaboration Award, Lawyer of the Year Award, and Legal Team of the Year Award (International, Domestic, and In-House). Over 300 high-level representatives from the global TrustLaw community attended the ceremony.

The winners were presented with prizes at a ceremony held at St. Pancras Hotel in London. The winners of the 2014 Awards included:

• Impact Award: Vinson & Elkins, Drew & Napier and McCarthy Tétrault working with Beijing Zhongze Women's Legal Counseling and Service Center to research compensation for rape victims and rape laws relating to underage victims.

• Innovation Award: HSA Advocates working with Pollinate Energy to distribute solar panels in urban slums of India and partner with microfinance institutions.

• Collaboration Award: Arnold & Porter, Norton Rose Fulbright, and eight other law firms working with Southern African AIDS Trust to conduct research on the legal frameworks and human rights implications of HIV self-testing.

• International Firm of the Year: McDermott Will & Emery

• Domestic Firm of the Year: Doulah & Doulah (Bangladesh)

• In-House Team of the Year: Hewlett-Packard

• Lawyer of the Year Award: Caroline Stakim, Morrison & Foerster

TrustLaw is the Thomson Reuters Foundation's global pro bono program dedicated to spreading the practice of pro bono. Trustlaw connects the best law firms in the world with NGOs and social enterprises working to create social and environmental change. TrustLaw produces groundbreaking legal research and offers innovative training courses worldwide. TrustLaw has over 2,200 members in over 170 countries, including over 450 law firms.