PILnet is a founding member of the European Pro Bono Alliance, the voice of the pro bono movement in Europe. It is a collaborative network of European clearinghouses and pro bono initiatives with the goal of supporting and promoting the work of its members and strengthening, championing, and informing the European pro bono movement. The European Pro Bono Alliance serves as a unique platform to share experiences, to build partnerships, to engage pro bono constituencies, and to nurture the culture of pro bono practice through Europe.
Our members consist of numerous clearinghouses and pro bono initiatives from across Europe.
Clearinghouses and pro bono initiatives have a unique and crucial role to play in protecting access to justice by connecting together legal need with legal supply. By assisting NGOs to access legal support and enabling lawyers to put their expertise and skills to good use, pro bono projects offer support to the most disadvantaged.
With this in mind, PILnet and its partners started to develop a strategy to reinforce the European pro bono community and find new opportunities for long term sustainability. There has always been a strong spirit of collaboration between the pro bono initiatives in Europe but it was agreed that it was necessary to pool expertise and strengthen individual and collective pro bono work.
It was from this collaborative spirit that the European Pro Bono Alliance was born. The Alliance does not take the place of individual pro bono initiatives. Instead it acts as a common voice on matters of general concern to all pro bono organizations and facilitates information sharing between the network.
The response has been overwhelmingly positive when this idea was pitched in 2011, and at a sidebar meeting of 20 representatives of European clearinghouses at the 2012 European Pro Bono Forum it was agreed to move forward with the project. In the spring of 2013, a planning meeting was held in Budapest with a number of clearinghouses where the mission, goals and activities of the Alliance were refined.