Our projects are experts in technology, not necessarily in law. Through partnerships with experienced attorneys, the Legal Lab seeks to address the varied, and often novel and complex legal issues that OTF’s projects face as they work to promote internet freedom globally.
For lawyers who want to help
Repressive regimes rely on the suppression and censorship of free expression and information, as well as the dissemination of misinformation, to infringe the fundamental rights of their citizens and commit human rights abuses. OTF supports technology-centered projects that fight these infringements and abuses. Because OTF's projects operate worldwide to fight censorship, suppression, and misinformation, the legal issues they face are global and multi-jurisdictional.
The Legal Lab is actively seeking attorneys to provide pro bono support. Find out how to work with us as a pro bono service partner here.
For projects in need
The Legal Lab exists to support your work in promoting internet freedom globally. The Lab endeavors to assist you with acute legal issues as well as with building a solid legal foundation to mitigate risks that could hinder the effectiveness of your work or threaten its very existence. The lab is intended to assist projects at all stages with a variety of legal needs, from organizational formation and governance, to IP protection, regulatory compliance, and developing policies to address allegations of sexual misconduct within organizations.
OTF’s Legal Lab is managed by the OTF team and an Independent Legal Fellow. OTF, its team, and Fellows do not provide legal advice. The information contained in this website is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any matter.
What does the legal lab provide?
The Legal Lab supports internet freedom projects in two ways:
- Facilitating direct legal services from qualified practitioners in relevant jurisdictions and subject matter areas for projects in need
- Providing access to a curated resource library of legal information developed by legal experts that is relevant to the issues projects face, allowing them to mitigate risks in their operations, and helping them identify when legal assistance may be necessary.
The lab provides specific short-term support to people or organizations representing projects conducting work within OTF’s internet freedom remit who apply to the lab for support. The lab offers access to services provided by Legal Lab pro bono service partners who provide services on a pro bono basis.
Who is the Legal Lab for?
The lab prioritizes support for the following kinds of projects:
- Current and past internet freedom efforts supported with public funds from OTF, BBG, the Department of State; and,
- Efforts that fit within OTF’s overall mission and goals but, for various reasons, may not be current or previous supported Internet freedom efforts.
The ideal applicant for this lab is in a legally accountable role within their project with the capacity to actively engage with available service partners. If an applicant appears to be unable to meet the needs required by a pro bono service partner, the application may not be considered competitive, may be dismissed, and/or may be directed to apply to one of OTF’s other more appropriate funds.
How do I get help?
To request legal assistance, fill out this application. For general questions about the Legal Lab, or to propose a topic on which you’d like for us to create a resource, email us at [email protected] We are unable to accept requests for legal assistance via email.
If you are requesting legal assistance for a specific legal dispute, you should not disclose particular facts about your situation, but rather state the general area of law to which it pertains. Any information you share with us is not privileged, such privilege will exist if and when you are engaged with legal representation. OTF does not provide legal advice.
Resources and assistance are available for issues like:
- Intellectual property (trademarks, copyright, etc): protection, enforcement, registration
- Contract drafting and interpretation
- Entity formation and governance of non-profit and other corporate structures
- Data and privacy compliance requirements, including GDPR and equivalent regulations
- Legal issues related to encryption
- Developing policies and best practices related to background checks, law enforcement inquiries, allegations of sexual misconduct
If you have legal questions, or acute legal issues, not appearing on this list, you are encouraged to contact us to inquire whether we can provide assistance or create a resource relevant to your specific issue.
Although we aim to facilitate legal assistance for all of the Legal Lab applications we accept, please note that we are unable to guarantee that an approved application will be taken up by one of our pro bono partners.
OTF, its team, and Fellows do not provide legal advice. The information contained in this website is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any matter. Do not send confidential documents or share potentially confidential information with us via email or through our web form. No attorney client relationship is created with any of OTF’s pro bono partners until an engagement agreement has been signed.