PILnet's Pro Bono Brokering Service
In House Pro Bono Stories
We sat down with Jonathan Davis, Assistant Director for Asia at PILnet, to learn about their pro bono offering.
Tell us about your organisation
PILnet is an international, locally present non-governmental organisation (NGO) that partners with legal professionals and civil society organisations (CSOs) – including both NGOs and social enterprises – globally to protect civic space; address global challenges; and work to build just, equitable, and sustainable societies. PILnet does this by supporting civil society, engaging legal professionals, and nurturing the next generation of lawyers in three strategic priority areas: civic space, climate justice, and refugees and people on the move. Established in 1997, PILnet currently has offices in New York, Budapest, and Hong Kong but operates globally.
We run a number of clearinghouses around the world, which are curated lists of pro bono matters where a large network of lawyers – solicitors, in-house counsel, and barristers – can volunteer to work with CSOs on discrete legal matters or deeper collaborations. PILnet's role is to meet with CSOs requesting legal support to help them determine their precise needs, which we then summarise and distribute to our legal network. We match the CSO with a qualified legal team – often pairing law firms and in-house teams – and make an introduction so they can take the matter forward together. We also rely on our large network of other local organisations running clearinghouses to refer matters outside our regions of focus.
In addition, we coordinate multi-jurisdictional resources, which are often developed in response to common questions we receive and urgent needs from the NGO community. Developed by teams of lawyers around the world, these resources are often particularly well-suited for in-house teams, as they don't involve direct legal advice or client representation. Ongoing projects include a Global NGO Guide, Banking Guide for Nonprofits, Global Employment Compass, and Cryptocurrency Fundraising Guide.
PILnet also organises an annual conference, the PILnet Global Forum. Held every year in a different city, it convenes around 400 lawyers and advocates from around the world to forge alliances and develop strategies for using the law to protect civil society and the communities they serve. Each Forum also features a dedicated meeting for in-house lawyers interested in pro bono, to discuss issues relevant to the sector and provide opportunities for collaboration.
How can lawyers get involved in what you do?
The easiest way for individual lawyers (or pro bono coordinators if relevant) is to join a clearinghouse mailing list, at this link. Additionally, signing up for newsletters will alert you to upcoming events, learning and sharing opportunities, and PILnet projects.
Is there a fee involved?
There is no fee for either the lawyers who join, or the CSOs we support.
Is there a contact person/mailbox people can reach out to for more information?