I am pleased to share with you the results of the second TrustLaw Index of Pro Bono, a benchmark mapping the global scale and trends of the pro bono legal sector.
Compiled with data collected from over 140 law firms - both large and small - and representing 49,000 lawyers in 77 countries, the Index illustrates a story of global growth and commitment to pro bono legal assistance.
Over the last 12 months, respondents donated 2.08 million hours of free legal support. On average, lawyers invested about one week (43 hours) of their time assisting charities, non-profits, social enterprises, and/or individuals free of charge.
The pro bono projects chosen by law firms and legal counsels included those in the areas of Access to Justice (54 percent), Economic Development and Microfinance (40 percent), and Education and Training (40 percent).
Having good data on pro bono is crucial. It allows us to better understand where the industry is going, to set important benchmarks, and to build up support for the practice. By mapping the growth of pro bono geographically and in terms of engagement levels, we believe the TrustLaw Index of Pro Bono offers the industry a unique tool to help firms understand how to get the greatest impact from their pro bono work.
The core mission of TrustLaw is to spread the practise of pro bono around the world. Today, TrustLaw operates in over 170 countries, bringing together 500 top law firms and in-house legal teams with 2,000 of the best social impact organisations around the world. In less than five years, TrustLaw has made over 1,600 connections between law firms, high impact NGOs and social entrepreneurs. Some of these connections took place in countries not traditionally known for pro bono legal support: from Somalia to Slovakia, Mongolia to Mauritius, and Swaziland to Saudi Arabia.
It is encouraging to see that a rising number of law firms from even more countries around the world have decided to contribute to the TrustLaw Index of Pro Bono. Our hope is that the research will continue to prove useful to those of you providing pro bono legal assistance around the world.