Pro Bono

In order to inspire lawyers to advance the public interest and strengthen the ability of civil society to influence laws and policies and assist individuals in need, PILnet develops pro bono (or volunteer) legal practice around the world. Although in recent years, lawyers and firms have become increasingly willing to undertake pro bono matters, they often lack a direct connection to the community. PILnet’s pro bono clearinghouses in Hungary, Russia, China and its cross-border Global Pro Bono Clearinghouse serve to bridge that gap between lawyers seeking opportunities to provide free legal help and those who need it.

PILnet also helps replicate its model by providing technical assistance, know-how exchange and other forms of coordination to partner clearinghouses developing in other European countries, such as Poland, the Czech Republic and Romania. It also organizes the annual European Pro Bono Forum to provide a dynamic, multi-national platform for exchange of information, skills transfer and networking related to pro bono activities in continental Europe and beyond.

2017 PILnet Global Forum

A Global Conference on Pro Bono and Public Interest Law

The 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 expertise and networks from Europe, Russia and Asia for the first time, the 2017 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, and provide them with opportunities to share the most effective techniques and skills of the legal profession - all in benefit of the public interest. The 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.learn more»

Get Involved in Pro Bono

PILnet provides free-of-charge matchmaking services to secure pro bono assistance for NGOs. If you are a lawyer and would like to volunteer your legal expertise, follow the "Get Involved Now" button and click on a clearinghouse near you to send an email to the contact person.  For those interested in cross-border pro bono work, click on PILnet's Global Pro Bono Clearinghouse located in Budapest.

If you represent an organization in need of legal assistance, you can do the same. You can also download the Guidelines for NGOs that we use for PILnet Clearinghouses. 

If you are an NGO and would like to get pro bono help, click here for the online Pro Bono Legal Needs Assessment form.

Click here for the pdf version of the list of Clearinghouses.

Get Involved Now

Pro Bono News

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  • 25 October 2017

    2017 Global Pro Bono Awards pro bono

    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

  • 30 May 2017

    THIS WAY – Finding Community Legal Assistance in Hong Kong pro bono

      “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 KongThe 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

  • 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

Pro Bono Resources

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  • Report

    The Growth of Pro Bono in Europe europe, pro bono

    EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Using the Power of Law for the Public Interest A Report by Lamin Khadar for the 10th Annual European Pro Bono Forum A modern pro bono movement is beginning to emerge in Europe. Although the tradition of pro bono practice stretches as far back as ancient and medieval Europe, modern pro bono practice has been developed anew, especially since the 1990s, by NGOs, foundations, and private lawyers. The emergence of modern pro bono practice in Europe was aided by the growth and internationalization of US and UK law firms committed to the institutionalization of pro bono in all of their offices, which has also coincided with a decline in legal aid in Europe. This report documents the long history of pro bono in Europe, with a special emphasis on developments in the past 10 years, which have witnessed significant activity toward building a culture of and the infrastructure for pro bono practice in Europe. Some of the field’s central debates and dilemmas, especially for its future, are captured here as a part of that review. This summary is a general overview of the issues covered in PILnet’s 10-year report, put together by Lamin Khadar. The full report, in a PDF printable version, will cover all of these issues in depth and will be available on this page shortly. Read more