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Make A Difference: TrustLaw

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By Tanya Roth, Esq. on June 24, 2010 6:58 AM

TrustLaw. Would some find that name an oxymoron? Thomson Reuters is working to make attitudes like that a thing of the past. Thomson Reuters TrustLaw is a free global pro bono service designed to connect organizations with limited means to free legal services. For attorneys, this is a place where those who want to make an impact, can. Many in-house corporate legal departments are in a strong position to reach out and help, and many have.

How does TrustLaw work? NGO's or entrepreneurs connect with TrustLaw to get help with their legal needs. TrustLaw believes that it is just this type client who as the power to effect change, but is often stymied for lack of legal assistance. When these clients come to TrustLaw for assistance, the staff will help them define their legal need as a "viable pro bono request." Those requests are then matched with the attorneys equipped to best help them. Before, during and after a project, feedback is collected from both contributors to make sure a good and useful connection was made. 

What can in-house teams do to become a part of TrustLaw? First, take the Eligibility Quiz to ensure they are match for TrustLaw and then complete the application form. Some in house legal teams from quite recognizable corporations have completed the process and are members of TrustLaw, including: General Electric, Hewlett-Packard, Merck & Co., Inc., Thomson Reuters, and Vodafone Group Services Limited.

TrustLaw members like these work on many different types of issues, depending on their areas of expertise. Projects often include: giving advice on intellectual property matters or governance structures; contract negotiations with NGO staff or volunteers; negotiation of construction, property, real estate or utility contracts; advice on employment law and human resources issues and research projects on topics such as human rights, environment, equal rights, dispute resolution or land rights issues.

Why would lawyers want to become a part of TrustLaw? For those seeking to build a strong and continuous pro bono program, TrustLaw can provide the framework. By providing attorneys with access to truly global projects, a network of other practitioners and a searchable database of clients in need, TrustLaw provides the support a pro bono project requires to grow. Then attorneys can focus on giving their time and help to those who most need it. 

To visit the TrustLaw website or learn about Trust.org, you can click here.

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