Here at Power to Change we are doing all we can to build a movement for community business. Our discussions and surveys with you have revealed that one of the best things we can do is to secure access to best-in-class business support for community businesses, whether you are at ideas stage, are already trading or have been established for some time.

With that in mind, we have struck up a partnership with ThomsonReuters Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the world’s biggest news and information provider. Their TrustLaw platform connects the best law firms and corporate legal teams across the globe with organisations that create social change like yours. TrustLaw works with over 700 legal teams across 175 countries that generously support the legal needs of its member organisations for free.

Power to Change is proud to be able to offer such a service to community businesses across England. Note that you do not need to be a grantee of Power to Change to benefit from this service.

The process is as follows:

  • Your community business applies for TrustLaw membership via apply.trust.org
  • The membership application will be vetted by the TrustLaw team. You will be notified within two to three weeks of the outcome. The more information you provide in the application the faster the processing time.
  • If approved for membership, you will be sent a personal login to the TrustLaw web portal where you can post a legal request.
  • Within three days of posting a legal request, the TrustLaw legal team will set up a call with you to discuss the legal request.
  • Following the call, the project request will be finalised and shared on the web portal with their law firm members to see and express interest in working on it.
  • After one week of the project being on the web portal, TrustLaw will advise if you have had any offers of assistance from a legal team.
  • You select which legal team you would like to work with, and we introduce you to the legal team to start work on the project.
  • If you have not had any offers of assistance after two weeks, TrustLaw will continue to seek free legal assistance until your project is connected with a legal team.
  • Following the introduction to the legal team, TrustLaw will check in with you and the legal team to ensure the legal project is progressing and provide support if required.
  • At the end of the project you will be asked to provide feedback to TrustLaw about using the TrustLaw service.

Is my project suitable?

To learn more about the service, please view TrustLaw’s introductory video which covers the dos and don’ts of using the service and explains exactly how you can go about requesting free legal assistance.

The film is globally focussed but there are more than enough lawyers on the platform to meet the needs of community businesses in England.

Here are some examples of how TrustLaw has helped on projects in this country:

  • Open Cinema, a network of participatory film clubs for homeless or vulnerable people, received assistance in preparing a risk assessment template which could be applied to new venues in a range of social sector environments, as well as a health and safety policy for their staff
  • Future First is a social business working to revolutionise careers advice across the UK through the creation of alumni networks, bringing former students back to their old schools to inspire and advise current pupils. Jones Day assisting them with employment agreements for their work shadowing programme volunteers
Play video

How to apply

To access free legal support, you will need to sign up to the TrustLaw platform.

Please provide as much information as possible when filling in the application form as it will ensure a quick turnaround.

Also please indicate that you have been referred by Power to Change as that will also help fast-track your request.

How long will it take to find free legal assistance? 

On average, it takes approximately one month to find free legal assistance through TrustLaw.

Questions?

To learn more, please visit http://www.trust.org/trustlaw/ or contact Emma Lough at TrustLaw directly at emma.lough@thomsonreuters.com.