Pro Bono Connect is the first public interest clearinghouse in the Netherlands and acts as intermediary between non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and law firms.
Pro Bono Connect was established in November 2015 by the Dutch section of the International Commission of Jurists (NJCM) after extensive research among law firms, NGOs and foreign clearinghouses. Thirteen of the Netherlands’ largest law firms support Pro Bono Connect.
What do we do?
Pro Bono Connect links civil society to lawyers from top law firms to give them free legal advice or assistance in legal proceedings. NGOs may contact Pro Bono Connect with legal questions concerning the aims of their organisation or questions that are of strategic importance for their work. They may also request assistance with questions concerning their structure or internal organisation.
After receiving a request from an NGO, the project coordinator will contact the organisation to further assess whether it is suitable for submission to a law firm. Requests are reviewed based on the following criteria:
- Is the request or organisation focused on improving human rights?
- If not, does the NGO/organisation have a public benefit mission?
- If not either, does the request serve a public purpose, or is it a specific request with strategic relevance for the NGO/organisation?
If none of the abovementioned criteria are applicable, Pro Bono Connect has the competence to decide to take the request into consideration anyway. All these requests however will need to be passed by the Board as well.
If necessary, the project coordinator will assist the NGO to frame the legal question, describe the background and sum up relevant facts. When a law firm has adopted a case it will communicate directly with the NGO and take it from there.
Who can apply for pro bono support?
Pro Bono Connect lends its services to organisations representing the public interest in the field of human rights, vulnerable groups, conservation of the environment and animal welfare.