NGOs and Social Enterprises can access free legal assistance through TrustLaw Connect: Examples in India

By Vallabh Rao|18th Jun 2013
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trustlaw connect thomson reuters foundation

TrustLaw Connect is the Thomson Reuters Foundation's global pro bono service that amplifies the impact of NGOs and social enterprises by connecting them with the best lawyers around the world. Launched in 2010, TrustLaw Connect has grown to include over 1,200 members in 145 countries Their goal is to spread the practice of pro bono worldwide to drive social change. The service includes nearly 300 law firms, lawyers and in house legal teams across the world.The TrustLaw Connect programme includes 26 of the largest 30 legal firms in the world by turnover. Law firms in India include AZB & partners, J. Sagar Associates, Luthra & Luthra, Trilegal and ALMT.

The programme has 410 NGOs, 391 Social Enterprises and 104 Referral Partners worldwide as members. Referral partners in India include Untld India, Ashoka, GiveIndia, Dasra and Sankalp.

How it works:

Social Enterprises and NGOs register to be a member online.

Registered social enterprises and NGOs send a legal request for pro bono assistance. TrustLaw Connect will help refine the request before it is shared with the lawyers.

Law firms indicate their interest and the social Enterprise/NGO chooses a firm among the offers received to work with.

Examples of projects social enterprises and NGOs can get help on:

  • Protecting intellectual property matters and trademark
  • Registering your organization and/or deciding which legal structure to adopt
  • Drafting or reviewing partnership agreements or contracts
  • Employment/HR issues or contract negotiations with staff, volunteers, customers, or partners
  • Legal research comparing legislation across multiple countries to be used in reports, advocacy, etc – Strategic Programmes

Examples of the programme’s work in India:

  • Nuru Energy working with J Sagar to provide affordable energy to India where half billion people have no access to electricity
  • mDiagnostica working with J Sagar and Hewlett Packard to facilitate remote diagnoses of sick people in India’s rural areas
  • Important piece of research to help foreign foundations, like Gates Foundation, to understand how they can fund charities and social enterprises in India
  • To come in 2013: a guide on how to register charities and to explain to social entrepreneurs the different business types open available to them

SocialStory, the social entrepreneurship and impact investing sector media platform of YourStory.in, is organizing a meetup with Thomson Reuters Foundation TrustLaw Connect programme at the YourStory.in office on 21st June, 2013 from 2:30PM to 4:30PM. Mumbai based Program Manager at Trust Law at Thomson Reuters Foundation, Urvashi Devidayal will be interacting with and taking questions about the programme from interested social enterprise and non-profit representatives. Click here to find out more about the meetup and register to attend.

Image: Trustlaw Connect website

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