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Sidley Emerging Enterprises Pro Bono Program


Launched by Sidley in 2012, the Emerging Enterprises Pro Bono Program provides free legal support to eligible small- and medium-size for-profit enterprises and market-focused nongovernmental organizations and nonprofits that have a clear social impact in developing countries across Africa, Asia, Central and South America and the Caribbean.

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The Emerging Enterprises Pro Bono Program harnesses the experience of hundreds of participating Sidley lawyers working with corporate and local counsel around the world by using their strategic and technical know-how for the benefit of the poorest people in developing countries in Africa, Asia and Central and South America and the Caribbean. The program facilitates social development through support to a wide range of local, social-impact driven enterprises including larger farmers’ cooperatives and smaller commercial farming operations, varied supply and processing companies, manufacturing and production entities, microfinance and insurance providers, technology and infrastructure companies, as well as market-focused non-profits and development organizations that work directly with enterprises to expand their operations and make them sustainable, successfully access new markets and become more attractive partners for investors.

In turn, the success of Sidley’s business and NGO clients contributes to increased incomes, profits, and economic stability for disadvantaged local people and local economies. Sidley’s program supports the growth and success of businesses across diverse sectors, and at all stages in various supply-chains – from agricultural growers to service exporters, mobile-app developers to women’s education providers.

Access to Sidley’s international legal experience can help clients navigate and overcome a host of finance, investment and trade challenges to assist them in growing and succeeding which in turn, plays an important role in improving income and welfare in some of the world’s poorest areas.

Sidley’s Emerging Enterprises Pro Bono Program How We Can Help

Sidley provides a wide variety of legal assistance to these enterprises to expand operations, lower costs, increase profits, successfully access new markets and become attractive partners for investors. Generally, the legal services provided include corporate, transactional, financing, contract, intellectual property and international trade matters by:

  • Advising on addressing and removing trade barriers for products in regional and international markets
  • Advising on compliance regulatory requirements for health, safety, packaging and product standards, financial services, exports and contracts
  • Increasing the value of local products in regional and international markets by registering the brand and origin, by using trademarks or by protecting local technology using intellectual property rules
  • Reviewing and negotiating investment and shareholder agreements for growth and success
  • Creating formal structures such as cooperatives and franchises to ease enforceable contracting throughout the supply chain, and increase bargaining leverage and prices

Additional information on current projects, eligibility criteria and the nature of the legal work our lawyers provide assistance with can be found in our brochure in English, Spanish, or French.

All applications for pro bono support are reviewed on a case-by-case basis against the following priority criteria:

  • Located in- or have primary operations in-a developing country in Africa, Asia, Central and South America and the Caribbean;
  • Committed to delivering a positive social impact;
  • Are unable to afford or otherwise access international legal services;
  • Have established a presence in the local market place (i.e. beyond start-up phase); and

We ask our clients to secure local counsel in case local law related issues need to be addressed.

Sidley welcomes the involvement of in-house counsel from our corporate clients to work alongside Sidley lawyers in supporting our pro bono clients. Corporate counsel bring multifaceted benefits to our pro bono work offering unique and valuable geographic and sector expertise. Corporate counsel also have the opportunity to work in new legal subject areas through exposure to a wide range of pro bono clients and matters.

Corporate counsel, located worldwide, have provided IP, corporate, finance and other non-litigation expertise directly to pro bono clients in collaboration with Sidley lawyers and local counsel.

If you or your company corporate responsibility officers are interested in collaborating with Sidley on pro bono projects, please Get In Touch below to let us know your legal interests, expertise and geographic preferences and we will match you with an interesting and rewarding pro bono project.

Get in touch with us via email to participate in our program or with any queries you have. Kindly provide the following information:

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