Pro Bono industry is global and thriving – 2015 TrustLaw Index
The Thomson Reuters Foundation has launched the second annual TrustLaw Index of Pro Bono, an annual survey that captures and analyzes global pro bono trends across the legal industry, revealing fascinating insights into the scale and potential growth of the sector. This year’s Index showed that law firms are increasingly devoting extraordinary resources to support organizations with a social, humanitarian, and environmental purpose.
Compiled with data collected from over 140 law firms – both large and small – and representing 49,000 lawyers in 77 countries, the Index illustrates a story of global growth and commitment to pro bono legal assistance. Over the last 12 months, respondents donated 2.08 million hours of free legal support. On average, lawyers invested about one week (43 hours) of their time assisting charities, non-profits, social enterprises, and/or individuals free of charge.The pro bono projects chosen by law firms and legal counsels included those in the areas of Access to Justice (54 percent), Economic Development and Microfinance (40 percent), and Education and Training (40 percent).
The 2015 Index also revealed that three key factors – the presence of a pro bono committee, a pro bono policy, and the inclusion of pro bono into the compensation process – had the greatest positive impact on the number of pro bono hours performed by each lawyer.
The TrustLaw Index of Pro Bono offers the industry a unique tool to help firms understand how to get the greatest impact from their pro bono work, aligned with the mission of TrustLaw to spread the practice of pro bono around the world. Today, TrustLaw operates in over 170 countries, bringing together 500 top law firms and in-house legal teams with 2,000 of the best social impact organizations around the world. In less than five years, TrustLaw has made over 1,600 connections between law firms, high impact NGOs, and social entrepreneurs. Some of these connections took place in countries not traditionally known for pro bono legal support: from Somalia to Slovakia, Mongolia to Mauritius, and Swaziland to Saudi Arabia.
Check out the full findings at trustlawindex2015.trust.org.