Building a Civil Society

12 January 2011

Civil society is often referred to as the “third sector” because it serves to give voice to those outside of the governmental and for-profit sectors. PILnet works to amplify this voice and strengthen the ability of civil society to influence laws and policies.

PILnet is fortifying NGOs in selected countries around the world by providing transformative experiences to the next generation of public interest leaders through its International Fellows Program. On the ground, in countries such as China and Nepal, PILnet is providing know-how and facilitating the exchange of best practices in order to strengthen nascent public interest programs and organizations.

In addition, PILnet is building the infrastructure to enable the leveraging of considerable resources from the private sector to assist NGOs around the world and their beneficiaries. That infrastructure includes PILnet’s pro bono clearinghouses in Hungary, Russia and China, a cross-border Global Pro Bono Clearinghouse and a growing network of partnerships with clearinghouses in other countries. PILnet’s annual European Pro Bono Forum, as well as technical support and guidance it provides to partner clearinghouses, have cemented PILnet’s role as an international leader in the development of pro bono legal practice.

Александр Фильчаков Васильевич


  • 25 October 2017

    2017 Global Pro Bono Awards

    PILnet’s Global Pro Bono Awards celebrate efforts by individuals, law firms, and international civil society organizations that protect the public interest and advance access to justice. This year, in recognition of 20 years of growing one of the world’s most respected networks of pro bono professionals, nominations for the awards were welcomed from all continents.  Read more

  • 17 October 2017

    Video as Evidence in the Middle East & North Africa

    After what some dubbed the Twitter or Facebook Revolution in 2011, combined with a consistent growth in mobile and smartphone use throughout the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA), video evidence of crimes and human rights violations has increased dramatically. MENA presents a unique and burgeoning environment for the use of video evidence. However, increased documentation does not necessarily rhyme with increased justice. Read more

  • 05 September 2017

    Law for Change Student Competition

      PILnet proudly presents the inaugural Law for Change Student Competition, sponsored by the WYNG Foundation. This competition will pair law students and pro bono lawyers together to develop innovative solutions to entrenched social justices needs in Hong Kong, while raising general awareness about the role of law as a tool for change. Read more

  • 22 June 2017

    The Barbara Schatz Fellowship Fund

    Established in 2017, the Barbara Schatz Fellowship Fund supports PILnet’s public interest law fellowship program, which provides young lawyers the opportunity to employ innovative legal means to protect the marginalized, disenfranchised, and poor. Named after PILnet’s founding board chair Barbara Schatz, the fund provides financial support for young lawyers from around the world to work at PILnet’s offices for a year alongside a global network of skilled private and public interest lawyers. The fellowship offers recent graduates a unique experience to put the powerful tools and techniques developed by corporate lawyers to work to protect and advance the public interest in the face of globalization, climate change, inequality, and mass migration.  Read more

  • 30 May 2017

    THIS WAY – Finding Community Legal Assistance in Hong Kong

      “I found out I needed to visit many different departments, and I also had to pay court fees,so I didn’t even dare to eat. Every night I was so hungry I could not sleep. 原來要走好多地方同埋要交錢比法庭,當時連去食飯都唔敢,每晚都訓唔著.   Working on a construction site in Hong Kong, "Mr. J" slipped off a building. The fall left him disabled, and before long, facing a myriad of legal issues. The eviction notice came first. He needed time, money, and advice to stave off homelessness, none of which was readily available. Ultimately, Mr. J kept his home but fell further down the security ladder, pushing him into a more marginal existence than before the accident.  Prompted by such need, PILnet and DLA Piper examined the status of access to justice in Hong Kong in a new report, THIS WAY – Finding Community Legal Assistance in Hong Kong. The report considers the legal needs of low income and vulnerable communities in Hong Kong, the free legal services that are available, and the gaps that exist in between. Read more