Providing Access to Justice

12 January 2011

The poor and socially vulnerable can only protect their rights if they can access the judicial mechanisms that serve them. That’s why PILnet works to make systems of justice more effective and accessible by reforming legal aid, by developing pro bono (or volunteer) legal practice around the world and by promoting other innovative approaches to meeting the legal needs of the public.

PILnet works in collaboration with partner organizations to engage ministries of justice in legal aid reform efforts, to provide comparative expertise, and to support the development of legal aid interest groups and coalitions among NGOs, human rights lawyers, judges, and bar association leaders.

PILnet runs four pro bono clearinghouses and assists other clearinghouses in Europe and globally. PILnet assists NGOs to develop legal aid programs and works with universities to establish and strengthen legal aid-providing clinical programs based at law schools.


  • 18 May 2017


    Pro Bono Italia was launched yesterday as the first association of lawyers, law firms and forensic associations with the goal of promoting and spreading a pro bono culture throughout Italy.  Read more

  • 20 April 2017

    Raymond Salas, PILnet Fellow 2012 - 2013

     We mourn the loss of Raymond Quiocho Salas, our 2012 – 2013 PILnet Fellow. Raymond spent nine months living and working alongside many of us in New York during the fellowship.  His passing is strongly felt across our offices and network of fellows. Raymond dedicated his work as a lawyer to defending the vulnerable and voiceless in the Philippines.  Such work included the rights of farmers, indigenous people, communities affected by environmental issues, and victims of trafficking. In addition to his advocacy work, Raymond was also a caring friend and a leader amongst the PILnet Fellows. He embraced both his life and work with vitality, leaving a mark on all who were privileged to know him.  The PILnet family will always remember him as a joyful, warm, and gentle soul: the one who always shared news with everyone and looked out for those around him. We are all grappling with this very sad news. Read more

  • 18 April 2017

    PILnet Global Forum

      PILnet Global Forum16 - 19 October 2017, Budapest Law can be a powerful tool for justice but it does not deliver justice automatically. Around the world today, law is being used to maintain inequality, to legitimize the quietening of civil society organizations and to hinder human rights defenders that challenge the status quo. The 2017 PILnet Global Forum will focus on how we, as a global network, can reclaim law as a force for good and find ways to collaborate in making law work for all. Bringing together the expertise and networks of PILnet’s European, Russian and Asian Forums for the first time, the 2017 Global Forum will give local innovation a global stage. It will connect leading activists, academics, pro bono professionals and public interest law champions from around the world to share the most effective techniques and skills of both the public and private legal profession to benefit the public interest.  REGISTER FOR THE FORUM   The PILnet Global Forum will offer presentations, trainings, interactive workshops, awards and social events over four days. Join us in Budapest from 16-19 October 2017 to be a part of this project to ensure that law can work for everyone. Find out more about the Forum on our website. Want to organise a workshop at the Forum or suggest a topic that we should cover?  Click on the link below to submit your proposal. SUBMIT A PROPOSAL Read more

  • 06 April 2017

    FAQ - PILnet’s Residential Fellowship

    Is the fellowship paid? Yes. Every year, PILnet will grant a limited number of paid fellowships, which includes a stipend and health insurance coverage totaling USD $50,000. We encourage candidates with separate sources of funding to apply. If an applicant has their own funding, they should indicate that in their application. 1. Is the fellow responsible for securing their own visa? Yes. Fellows are required to have or be able to obtain a work visa for the duration of the fellowship. PILnet will provide supportive documentation as needed. 2. Does PILnet accept applications from all parts of the world? Yes. Candidates from all geographic regions are eligible. Particular attention will be given to candidates from regions where PILnet has offices and/or programs. 3. When does the fellowship start/end? The fellowship is scheduled to begin June 2017 and runs for up to one year. 4. Who is eligible to apply? The ideal candidates are students currently completing a relevant degree in public interest law or those who have completed such a degree within the last five years. 5. How does the redesigned program differ from the previous PILnet fellowship? The program differs significantly from the previous PILnet fellowship in the following ways: CandidatesThe redesigned fellowship targets students currently completing a relevant degree in public interest law and those who have completed such a degree within the last five years, as opposed to mid-career lawyers. Candidates no longer need to be nominated by an NGO to apply. FormatThe fellowship will be based in-house at PILnet’s NYC offices, rather than at a university campus. It will include experiential learning in developing transactional lawyering approaches to public interest matters, complemented by workshops and classroom-style training carried out by leading legal academics and practitioners. FocusRather than focusing on conventional human rights advocacy, the fellowship offers a unique experience to re-envision the very way that effective public interest lawyering can be done in our globalized world, especially focusing on using commercial lawyering tools for the public interest. 6. Will the program provide housing for the fellowship duration? Fellows will be responsible for their own living arrangements. Click here to download the FAQ in a pdf version.Read more

  • 24 February 2017

    Call for Fellowship Applications

    PILnet is excited to announce the launch of its redesigned Residential Fellowship Program that will begin in summer 2017. PILnet invites recent law graduates and those currently completing relevant degrees in public interest law to apply for this new fellowship, which offers a unique experience to re-envision the way that effective public interest lawyering can be done in our globalized world. This fellowship will provide an experiential learning opportunity in a new area of public interest lawyering that takes the techniques that have historically been used to benefit a powerful few and puts them to work for the poor and disenfranchised. Fellows at PILnet will acquire the skills to adopt the private sector’s transactional lawyering tools (those day-to-day activities—such as negotiating, drafting contracts, and helping to structure transactions), and focus on innovative ways of putting them to work for the public interest. We are no longer accepting applications for the 2017 – 2018 Fellowship.  Please check back for an announcement for the 2018 – 2019 cohorts. For more information on the Fellowship, click here.Read more