At the heart of PILnet’s mission is the confidence that the law is a powerful tool for social change. By connecting NGOs with experienced pro bono lawyers through its global clearinghouse, we ensure that critical legal needs are met with expertise and compassion. One recent success story of a quick turnaround of pro bono assistance is the collaboration between the European Disability Forum (EDF) and DLA Piper, facilitated by us, which resulted in the Enforcement Toolkit.

The European Disability Forum, an umbrella organization that defends the interests of over 100 million persons with disabilities in Europe, developed a comprehensive toolkit designed to empower individuals and organizations by shedding light on the various mechanisms available under EU law to enforce their rights. The toolkit includes descriptions of legal mechanisms, explanations of legal jargon, and practical advice, making it an invaluable resource for those it aims to serve.

Recognizing the importance of accuracy and completeness in such a crucial document, EDF sought pro bono legal assistance to review the toolkit. The review needed to ensure that the information was precise and that no relevant details were omitted, particularly in the introduction, the chapter on judicial enforcement, the conclusion, and the glossary of legal terms. PILnet leveraged its extensive network and circulated the case in its clearinghouse newsletter on March 5.

By March 19, we received a response from DLA Piper, a globally respected law firm known for its commitment to pro bono work. DLA Piper volunteered to take on the project. The firm conducted a rapid conflict check, and by March 26, a dedicated lawyer started the review process, which was completed by late April. EDF was then able to present the revised toolkit during their General Assembly in Slovenia in the week of May 6. The toolkit was officially published on their website on May 13, marking a significant milestone in the support and empowerment of persons with disabilities across Europe.

This successful collaboration underscores the profound impact that PILnet’s global clearinghouse can have. By matching EDF with DLA Piper, PILnet not only facilitated the creation of a critical resource but also reinforced the importance of shared trust and rapport in pro bono work. The toolkit, now a robust and reliable resource, will serve many persons with disabilities across Europe, highlighting the vital role of accurate legal information in advocating for rights and justice.

The EDF toolkit project is a shining example of what can be achieved when dedicated professionals come together with a shared purpose, and it sets a hopeful precedent for future collaborations. Access the toolkit here.