A message on social media was circulating about a law firm wanting to assist social enterprise on legal aspects. It was serendipity that led Atypical Advantage to connect with the firm. In these times of uncertainty, we rarely see firms willing to mentor and draft legal documents in the spirit of volunteerism and service. We remember our first email response was at the speed of lightning, first legal draft within 2 weeks of understanding our requirement and after 2 months of engagement, they executed all our agreed deliverables.
We had a chance to interview the Pro Bono Cell and below are a few snippets from the interview. Hariani & Co., Advocates & Solicitors, is a prominent Indian law firm offering high quality legal services to clients in certain specialized practice areas. The firm has a fast-growing team of over 75 legal professionals, offices in three cities in western India, Mumbai, Pune and Goa with a International reach.
1. What inspired you to work pro bono for Atypical Advantage?
When Atypical Advantage reached out to us we were taken up by the mission, passion and vision of the organization. Upon reading further, we felt it was one of the causes the Pro Bono Cell of Hariani & Co could support as part of its vision.
2. What stood out about the organization to you?
Atypical Advantage is an organization with a unique and extraordinary vision- to help persons with Disabilities(PWD) to showcase and capitalize on their skills, offer specialized services and products and earn a living. We had not come across any other talent platform of like nature that empowers PWD’s in this manner. In addition to the mission, the determination of the team and their approach to the cause appealed to us instantly.
3. Do you do many pro bono cases like this?
At Hariani & Co., we have a dedicated Pro Bono Cell offering legal services to persons in need and organizations with limited access. We have rendered all kinds of legal assistance including public interest litigations (PIL), drafting of deeds and contracts, general legal advisory work and intellectual property rights to individuals in need, NGOs, Trusts or charitable organizations.
4. What all did you keep in mind while drafting policies and documents for Atypical Advantage?
While drafting the policies and documents for Atypical Advantage we had detailed discussions with the team. We studied the website to understand the kind of products and services offered, the user interface, and other features of the online platform. We kept in mind that Atypical Advantage should at all times be in compliance with prevailing laws, rules and regulations applicable to non-profits, online platforms and e-commerce websites, among other things. It was our endeavor that the contracts should be all encompassing and holistic and should not leave any room for ambiguity.
5. How important are such legal intricacies for an organization like Atypical Advantage?
It is of utmost importance that all organizations are supported by a strong legal framework which ensures that it is compliant, that it is sufficiently protected and safeguarded against any liabilities and that its contractual relationships are clear, without any grey area. For an organization like Atypical Advantage, which hosts not only a talent platform but also an e-commerce platform, and has multiple types of users including service professionals, service users, product sellers and purchasers- these legal intricacies and provisions are crucial.
6. How can a strong legal foundation help NGOs in particular, along with other organizations?
We have often found that organizations, especially at the nascent stage are largely unaware of the various laws, rules and regulations that govern them, leading to inadvertent breaches. As a result of this ignorance of the law, several organizations often face legal obstacles and hassles in the future, and are unable to deal with the same. Particularly in the non-profit sector, there are a host of legal provisions and restrictions which govern NGOs and Trusts, with strict consequences for non-compliance. It is essential that organizations are made aware of these laws so that they can practice and implement the same. A strong legal foundation is imperative for the seamless functioning of an organization.
7. Any remarks/comments you’d like to add?
It was a pleasure working for and assisting Atypical Advantage and contributing to its unique mission. Especially in these pressing circumstances, where numerous persons are facing unemployment and financial constraints, we are happy that there are organizations like Atypical Advantage, looking out for those in need.
Atypical Advantage is extremely grateful to the Pro Bono Cell of Hariani & Co as they helped us stabilize the legal aspect of our organization. We hope to see more firms taking inspiration from Hariani & Co and starting a pro bono cell to assist social enterprises. The professionalism and dedication shown by the entire Team is commendable and we must say, is a rarity.