Service ONG

NGO Service

 

TrustLaw

CAGI has partnered with TrustLaw to facilitate free legal assistance for social enterprises and NGOs that we support. TrustLaw is a global programme of Thomson Reuters Foundation that connect the world's leading legal teams to provide free legal assistance to organisations working for social and environmental change. Applying and using the service is entirely free of charge.

Be sure to indicate in your application how you are associated with us in order to fast-track your application. Since CAGI is an official referral partner of this programme your application will be fast tracked.

How to apply

To access this pro bono support, you will need to sign up to their free service via apply.trust.org (applicants are asked to provide as much information as possible when filling in the application form for quicker processing.

A few examples of the types of projects TrustLaw can help with:

  • Protecting intellectual property matters and trademark
    • Award winning social enterprise Friends International worked with law firms Tilleke Gibbins International, LGP Asia, Leks and Co, and Clayton Utz to have their intellectual property protected in Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Australia respectively, after becoming aware of attempts to copy some of their projects.
  • Registering your organisation and/or deciding which legal structure to adopt
    • Torys, one of Canada’s leading law firms, advised Swiss humanitarian aid agency Medair on registering in Canada, a move which Medair expects would provide support for their work in Haiti and throughout the world.
  • Drafting or reviewing partnership agreements, contracts, templates, etc.
    • Open Cinema, a UK network of participatory film clubs for homeless or vulnerable people, received assistance in preparing a risk assessment template which could be applied to new venues in a range of social sector environments, as well as a health and safety policy for their staff
  • Employment/HR issues or contract negotiations with staff, volunteers, customers, or partners
    • Future First is a social business working to revolutionise careers advice across the UK through the creation of alumni networks, bringing former students back to their old schools to inspire and advise current pupils. Jones Day assisting them with employment agreements for their work shadowing programme volunteers
  • Advocacy
    • Research on laws in multiple countries, comparing best (and worst) practices. Please find some of their success stories and published research programmes here on issues such as domestic labour rights, human trafficking, domestic violence, acid violence, women’s access to land rights, disability rights and many more.

How long will it take to find free legal assistance? 

On average, it takes approximately one month to find free legal assistance through TrustLaw. The process is as follows:

  • Organisations can apply for TrustLaw membership via apply.trust.org
  • The membership application will be vetted by TrustLaw team. You will be notified within two-three days of the outcome. The more information you provide in the application the faster the processing time.
  • If approved for membership, you will be sent a personal login to the TrustLaw web portal where you can post a legal request and set up a call with one of the lawyers on the team who will scope the project with you. 
  • Following the call, the project request will be finalised and shared on the web portal with over 1000 law firm members to see and express interest in working on.
  • After two weeks of the project being on the web portal, TrustLaw will advise if you have had any offers of assistance from a legal team.
  • You select which legal team you would like to work with, and we introduce you to the legal team to start work on the project.
  • If you have not had any offers of assistance after two weeks, TrustLaw will continue to seek free legal assistance until your project is connected with a legal team.
  • Following the introduction to the legal team, TrustLaw will check in with you and the legal team to ensure the legal project is progressing and provide support if required.
  • At the end of the project you will be asked to provide feedback to TrustLaw about using the TrustLaw service. 

To learn more the impact of TrustLaw and how it works, please view this video and visit http://www.trust.org/trustlaw/.

Useful TrustLaw Resources

  • TrustLaw Legal Health Check for NGOs and Social Enterprises - The checklist covers a broad spectrum of legal topics: from setting up a new legal entity and understanding your obligations towards employees, to protecting your ideas and branding. Ensuring that your organisation is “healthy” will save time and resources in the future – helping you to streamline operations and maximise funding opportunities.
  • COVID-19 Legal Checklist for Non-Profits & Social Enterprises - During these challenging times, TrustLaw wants to ensure non-profits and social enterprises have the answers they need to mitigate risks and to keep their organisations up and running. TrustLaw created this Legal Checklist to help non-profits and social enterprises identify their legal needs in the face of COVID-19.
  • Covid-19 Resource Hub -This hub features webinars, guides, and tools for NGOs and social enterprises to learn about and respond to legal issues that could arise during the pandemic.