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International Senior Lawyers Project (ISLP)


ISLP fosters just and accountable development, which is sustainable, supportive of human rights, and strengthens the rule of law, by mobilizing our unique network of highly skilled and experienced pro bono lawyers to advise civil society and governments.

ISLP's approach includes focusing on local needs and the local context, staying with a project as long as needed, and providing on-site assistance over substantial periods of time or for repeated assignments to achieve more lasting and significant results.

Negotiation Support General

Regional focus:

ISLP primarily provides legal support to host governments and civil society groups in Africa, but its support is not limited geographically.

To date, ISLP has done work in (or affecting) 72 countries.

ISLP volunteers have worked onsite in 49 countries.

Assistance criteria:

  • Host government must (i) be moving in a positive direction on transparency and human rights issues; and (ii) not be able to pay (with no other funds being available to pay) for legal services.
  • The host government does not necessarily need to be a member of the EITI, but this is helpful in indicating a host government’s commitment to transparency and good governance.
  • ISLP conducts due diligence on a host government prior to agreeing to provide assistance.

Sector focus:

ISLP predominantly provides support in the extractive industries, infrastructure and energy (oil & gas and renewables), but advice is not limited to these.

ISLP focuses on the following areas: 

  1. Economic & Social Development (legal professional development, social impact investing);
  2. Civil Society Space (free expression, frontline human rights defense, strategic legal assistance);
  3. Vulnerable Communities (land rights, supply chains, investor and corporate accountability);
  4. Natural Resources (management, representation, negotiation, environmental protection);
  5. Anti-Bribery and Corruption (transparency, anti-money laundering, asset recovery); and
  6. Investment, Trade & Tax (negotiation training, tax policy, public-private partnerships).

Collaboration with partners:

Yes. ISLP collaborates with the Natural Resource Governance Institute, UNDP, ALSF, World Bank, IMF, and other organizations.

Types of expertise:

ISLP relies on a pool of highly experienced lawyers at global law firms and recently retired lawyers who provide advice on a voluntary, pro bono basis. The volunteer lawyers are predominantly partner-level with considerable sector experience. Local lawyers are occasionally teamed up with international lawyers.
In 2014 ISLP worked with volunteer lawyers from 57 law firms to provide advice in 38 countries.

Volunteer lawyers provide advice on:

  • Policy;
  • Negotiation strategy;
  • Contract (re)negotiation;
  • Fiscal issues;
  • Governance issues;
  • Environmental issues;
  • Land issues;
  • Human rights;
  • Tendering and procurement;
  • Public private partnerships; and
  • Public interest.

Number of in-house experts:

-        All programmatic staff are attorneys. 

-        ISLP works with volunteer lawyers (practicing and recently retried lawyers from major global and local law firms), with specific subject matter expertise.

Length of involvement:

Both short term training and longer term capacity building and contract negotiation support is provided.

Fee/non-fee based support:

  • Non-fee based support.
  • Project-related travel costs and a modest ISLP administrative fee paid for by donors or the host government.

Speed of response:

Generally rapid (2-5 weeks) depending on the availability of volunteer lawyers.

Practical constraints:

The suitability of the project for pro bono assistance; availability of volunteer lawyers with required specific expertise; availability of funding to pay for volunteer lawyers’ travel costs.

Types of negotiation support

Setting the Legal & Policy Framework Stage:

Yes - support is provided in policy formulation, review and reform of law and sector analyses. Support is mostly provided in the extractives sector.

Pre-Negotiation Stage:

Yes - assistance is provided with model contracts and the tender & procurement process.

Contract Negotiation Stage:

Yes - direct contract negotiation support is provided.

Implementation & Monitoring Stage:

No assistance with contract implementation and monitoring is provided, although ISLP is willing to assist clients if a legal issue arises during the implementation phase.

Advancing Knowledge-Sharing and Management:

Yes – ISLP provides cross-border research and analysis on issues related to just and accountable development, sustainable, supportive of human rights, and which strengthens the rule of law.

Provider Type:

Support Providers