While rapid economic globalization promised to be a rising tide that lifts all the boats, as it extends infrastructure, technology, jobs, and wealth around the world, it has also produced a wave of negative impacts for the public interest. In this era of rapid change, law has tended to serve the interests of those with privileged access to its use in shaping outcomes while failing the interests of those without such access.
To respond to those conditions, PILnet’s approach employs the strategic use of law to produce stronger, more resilient societies capable of responding to these dramatic developments. It does so by building strategic partnerships between private sector lawyers and civil society to activate the resources and expertise of the hundreds of corporate lawyers in its global network for a wide range of public interest problems.
PILnet’s strategy allows civil society organizations to not only obtain high-quality, free legal assistance when it is urgently needed but also to become aware of the full range of specialized legal assistance they can receive from corporate lawyers, including against ongoing, and even yet to be determined, threats.
PILnet’s public interest convenings result in stronger alliances among lawyers and advocates and smarter, more focused legal strategies to put the full power of law to work for civil society and the communities they serve.
PILnet’s impact is felt by the many community and individual beneficiaries of the expert free legal assistance that PILnet brokers for civil society organizations around the world.
PILnet’s legal Q&As, webinars, and wealth of written resources provide civil society organizations with the tools to protect their own interests and those of their clients.
Through its innovative legal projects, convenings, and writings, PILnet supports smart, imaginative, and proven methods to more strategically and systematically put the law to work for those in need.
For 20 years, PILnet has worked around the world to help promote a culture of pro bono in new jurisdictions, to excite the next generation of lawyers about public interest law causes, and to convene and connect pro bono and public interest lawyers and advocates from around the world in its many roundtables, forums, workshops, and meetings.
PILnet’s work in Europe focuses on supporting the resilience of civil society. PILnet does this by marshaling the resources and skills of the legal profession to foster innovation in operational and financial sustainability and to develop risk management strategies for civil society organizations. Long active in Hungary in particular, PILnet is now expanding work into Eurasia, where it seeks to understand the unmet legal needs of organized civil society in the diverse countries across the region. PILnet’s work in Eurasia focuses on developing a local culture of pro bono, training and engaging law students in public interest initiatives, and providing legal support to civil society organizations.
Since 2003, PILnet’s work in Asia has supported the creation of vibrant public interest legal networks and national and regional initiatives that educate and enrich current and future generations of public interest lawyers. PILnet’s regional work began with a fellowship program, which has hosted scores of lawyers from the continent. PILnet’s first dedicated activities began in China in 2007 and it established a Beijing office the following year. In 2013, PILnet expanded its regional presence by opening an office in Hong Kong and launching a range of activities targeted at Asian lawyers, civil society advocates, and social enterprises. Much of PILnet’s work in Hong Kong addresses the needs identified in the This Way Report, PILnet and DLA Piper’s analysis of the status of access to justice in Hong Kong.
Globally, leverages available legal capacity not only to promote and facilitate pro bono assistance but also to deliberately channel pro bono resources to create more effective, efficient solutions to protect and advance the public interest. PILnet’s annual Global Forum convenes hundreds of lawyers and advocates to forge alliances and develop strategies for using the law to protect those in need. PILnet’s Global Clearinghouse for multi-jurisdictional legal matters or those that do not fall within PILnet’s other clearinghouses directs private sector resources tools to civil society so that they can grow and thrive as they serve their communities. PILnet’s International Fellowship Program is an experiential learning program that introduces recent law graduates to the field of public interest law and to expand their toolbox to include private sector legal expertise to advance the public interest.