The Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of the international news and financial services company, is introducing a new Web site to connect pro bono legal providers with nongovernmental organizations around the world.
The information on the Web site, TrustLaw Connect, will be free. It is set to launch in mid-April.
Monique Villa, CEO of the foundation, said the company has the infrastructure to create a wide-reaching information service because it has employees in 180 countries.
“We can identify the big issues in the world because of our humanitarian and media networks,” Villa said to a group of about 20 lawyers and NGO representatives last week in Washington.
To participate, lawyers and NGOs will have to apply for a membership, which will be vetted by the employees at TrustLaw Connect. Villa said the foundation will then work to match a request for legal aid with an appropriate lawyer.
According to TrustLaw Connect’s Web site, lawyers will receive e-mail alerts when new requests arise. A customizable list of pending requests will also be offered.
Alex Counts, president of the Washington-based Grameen Foundation, said information on how NGOs can operate in developing countries would benefit his foundation’s microfinance work. “Lawyers are artists who can be problem solvers for the poor,” he said.
Planning for the project began almost two years ago when Thomson, a financial data services provider, bought Reuters, an international news service. TrustLaw Connect comes on the heels of the foundation’s creation of AlertNet.org, an emergency information service that has been active in multiple recent catastrophes, including the earthquake in Haiti. ..Source..
March 25, 2010