Lawyers Helping Social Entrepreneurs
Change the World
The Lex Mundi Pro Bono Foundation was created to support and empower those working on high impact, sustainable solutions to social, economic, and environmental challenges. Established in 2006 as a nonprofit affiliate of our parent organization, Lex Mundi, our mission is to engage Lex Mundi’s global community of 150+ top-tier law firms across 120+ countries to bring critical, high-quality pro bono legal support to social impact organizations. Our flagship offering is our legal matchmaking program. We find and vet quality transactional legal projects with social entrepreneurs and connect them to skilled Lex Mundi member lawyers for assistance. Beyond the matchmaking program, we also provide legal mentoring to help social entrepreneurs become thoughtful and effective consumers of pro bono services; create, curate, and distribute guidance documents on common issues affecting social enterprises; identify resources to assist organizations as they grow, and; develop and facilitate clinics and other speaking engagements for social ventures.
Why Social Entrepreneurs
Social entrepreneurs are pioneering new and creative solutions to the world’s most pressing problems. Inspired changemakers work around the world to improve access to education, fight disease, reduce inequalities, combat global warming, protect civil rights, lift people out of poverty, and more. For every grand challenge, there are dedicated social entrepreneurs working on innovative solutions. They are, without question, more successful when they have access to quality pro bono legal advice. And the same characteristics that make Lex Mundi member firms valuable counsel to leading international corporations also make them powerful resources for these social enterprises. The Lex Mundi Pro Bono Foundation knows that access to high-quality pro bono legal services has a tremendous impact. Lex Mundi lawyers help social enterprises scale faster, expand reach, secure funding, and ultimately achieve greater success. We help social entrepreneurs start, grow, and achieve their powerful missions.
Groundbreaking leaders that use entrepreneurial approaches to tackle social and environmental issues need high quality legal support. Lex Mundi’s carefully vetted member firms uphold the highest service standards and are among the most experienced and knowledgeable independent law firms in their jurisdictions. Member firms are reviewed on a regular basis to ensure quality, rankings, standing, and service. The Lex Mundi Pro Bono Foundation helps social entrepreneurs by matching them with lawyers from this incredibly qualified network of law firms. This ensures that social enterprises are advised by skilled attorneys with indigenous expertise and local perspectives. Social entrepreneurs can trust the consistent quality and the local market expertise of Lex Mundi member firms around the globe.
The Lex Mundi Pro Bono Foundation has working relationships with several non-profits, foundations, impact investors, and other capacity-building organizations. These organizations provide sponsorship and support, financial and otherwise, to the growing community of social entrepreneurs around the world. They have developed prestigious and effective programs that help social ventures maximize their growth and impact. Our Collaborators help the Foundation identify promising, qualified, social entrepreneurs who would benefit from our services. A complete list of our collaborators can be found here.
We channel the expertise of Lex Mundi member firms to provide free transactional legal services to qualified social ventures. Lex Mundi membership consists of more than 150 top-tier firms, representing more than 22,000 lawyers located in 120+ countries around the world. Each is a leading, full-service commercial law firm that provides high quality legal representation and in-depth local market knowledge. See a list of our firms here.
Client Photo: Agros International
How it Works
Eligible social entrepreneurs begin the matchmaking process by filling out our Client Intake Form. Upon receipt and review, the Lex Mundi Pro Bono Foundation team sets up a call to discuss details and assess each client’s needs. While our team consists of attorneys with impact sector experience and can assist social entrepreneurs in identifying, articulating, and prioritizing legal needs, they do not provide the requested legal services or practice law. They do, however, offer mentoring and guidance to ensure that every social entrepreneur working with the Foundation is prepared to be an effective and thoughtful consumer of pro bono services. When the social enterprise is ready to move forward, the Foundation pitches eligible matters to our member firms in the relevant jurisdiction. If a firm indicates capacity and interest in a project, we make an introduction to the volunteer attorney(s), and the firm and client begin their work together. Once a match is made, we step out of the relationship for privilege and confidentiality purposes but remain available to answer questions and manage the relationship as needed. Matches are made on a project-by-project basis, but clients are always free to reach out again for additional legal needs.
Client Photo: APOPO
Statistics Are Half the Story
While the Lex Mundi Pro Bono Foundation has served hundreds of social entrepreneurs on thousands of matters addressing each of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), statistics alone cannot capture the breadth of its impact. Lex Mundi lawyers frequently form relationships with their pro bono clients, offering additional support beyond the original engagement, becoming nonprofit board members, and participating in service days and other non-legal volunteer activities. Additionally, the Foundation’s longstanding global campaign encouraging pro bono, CSR and ESG initiatives helps to drive dialogue and promote change. By serving social, environmental, and economic changemakers, the Lex Mundi Pro Bono Foundation propels global progress in CSR, promotes more equitable access to legal services, and strengthens the global rule of law. Established more than15 years ago as the first legal pro bono provider focused specifically on social enterprises, the Foundation remains steadfast in its commitment to supporting social entrepreneurs today. We are lawyers are helping social entrepreneurs change the world.
Read our ten-year Impact Report