Building a pro-bono law network to help legal battles around the world
iProbono is a free, global website that matches lawyers with charities and social businesses that need legal help.
Many large law firms have very active pro bono programmes: iProbono is revolutionary in that it not only aggregates this market, but it also allows students, sole practitioners, retired lawyers, those on sabbatical or maternity leave and lawyers from smaller firms, to also share their skills, matching them with a huge pool of social projects.
The site was founded in 2009, and operates internationally, with a network of over 50,000 lawyers, and field offices in London and New Delhi. It has matched over 620 projects for social organisations, equating to at least £7.1m in services: helping organisations deliver their social programmes quicker and faster to ultimately speed the pace of social change.
Founder and London-based lawyer, Shireen Irani says, ‘we believe people want to engage in their communities, they want to have a positive impact in the world. Harnessing the internet enables iProbono to find these people and free them up to connect with the causes they care about.’
Registered members post their experience and the sort of social cause they’d like to help. Organisations post information on the projects they need help with, for which iProbono centrally generates a list of suitable candidates, and sends targeted email alerts to volunteers.
iProbono’s lawyers have started collectively pushing for regulatory change: for example establishing the ‘defending public participation’ network, recently launched in India to combat lawsuits against activists and publishers in India that stifle free speech and undermine the rule of law. But they also provide more basic, but vital support: for example in helping NGOs navigate complex laws on doing business, or ownership of real estate, that could otherwise impede their ability to deliver social programmes.
Last updated: 19th of September, 2014