Steps to Get Legal Assistance

1. Complete a request for legal assistance, found on each legal assistance page

2. Work with PILnet to prepare pro bono request

3. Connect with lawyers in PILnet's pro bono network

4. Collaborate on meaningful public interest projects

Questions & Answers

How does PILnet connect me to free legal assistance?

PILnet brokers free advice and services from qualified legal professionals to support nonprofit and social change organizations in need of both discrete legal assistance and deeper collaborations.

What kind of pro bono support is available?

Pro bono support comes in many forms and usually takes place outside of the courtroom. Pro bono projects fall into two broad categories: operational help to support the healthy and resilient functioning of CSOs and programmatic assistance that advances the programmatic work of CSOs. NGOs might require help with a project which combines these elements.

What is the process to receive legal assistance?

To ensure the legitimacy of PILnet’s listings, we begin by having one of our in-house legal officers screen each civil society organization’s credentials. Once approved, PILnet individually works with the civil society organizations to help define its legal needs. This cooperation leads to the creation of a matter, which is a short summary describing the organization, the request, and any other pertinent information, such as the jurisdiction and the timeframe. The matters are pooled into listings that are sent to PILnet’s pro bono network. Once connections between organizations and law firms are made, PILnet cultivates the relationship to increase the organization’s legal capacity to create a more sustained and strategic use of private sector legal advice.

As a lawyer, how do I work with PILnet to give pro bono support?

Joining is easy. If firms or individual lawyers want to receive the list of pro bono opportunities, subscribe here to any or all regional or thematic distribution lists. There is no membership or other fee required. The list is open to all lawyers and law firms who want to review opportunities. You can contact us via email to volunteer for matters you are interested in.

How do we assign pro bono matters?

Urgent matters are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis.

All other matters are assigned to a lawyer/firm, taking into account:

  • the relevant experience/expertise of the lawyer(s);
  • the resources and time the lawyer(s) can devote to this pro bono matter;
  • whether the lawyer/firm can take the matter in full or in part, or the number of jurisdictions they can cover; and
  • any other relevant information.

Am I eligible to partner with PILnet to receive free legal assistance?

Most types of organized civil society, including nonprofits, nongovernmental organizations, social enterprises, or other ventures that have a public benefit purpose are eligible. PILnet does not offer direct support for private individuals or businesses.