The LexisNexis Rule of Law Foundation was established, with appropriate fanfare, at the beginning of the year. At that time we announced our support for the Global Investigative Journalism Network. That’s an organization of journalists who can spend a long time on putting together stories that involve exposing some kind of wrongdoing. It might be exposing corruption, atrocities or other major issues. It was a great start. But setting up a charity isn’t as easy as you might expect. There are registrations with this body, that body, this government agency and that government agency. Unfortunately, governments don’t make it easy to do. We are making progress and that part of the process is nearly complete. 

But something quite amazing happened at launch and has continued. It was the response to the foundation launch which was overwhelming and, frankly, more than I could have expected.

Many people came up to me and said, “this is a great thing LexisNexis is doing, how can we help?”

And so, we ran into our biggest problem almost immediately. How can we turn this enormous amount of goodwill and enthusiasm into meaningful action to advance the rule of law?

 So, we made a start; we got volunteers to research various laws on the operation of a charity! Then we assisted on winning bids to consolidate the laws of nations (hopefully soon to be announced!!).

We are supporting a number of lawyer exchange visits between Middle East Women Lawyers and their counterparts in different countries; helping to spread best practice.

 We even have a member of the Court of Appeal in the UK travelling to the Middle East to give a lecture. Spreading the Rule of law message is an important part of what we do.

But we have been literally inundated with offers of help.

So, I wanted to take this opportunity to say that although you may not have heard anything immediately please be assured; we are working hard behind the scenes to generate projects and actions which will require us to call in all those offers of help and support! And call them in we will. As we gradually increase the activity of the Foundation we will be calling on volunteers to help in all kinds of ways. So, as the saying goes “be careful what you wish for!!”

As part of the “spreading the word,” we engage with a number of very interesting organizations. For example, the United Nations. I had the great opportunity of taking part in the UN’s “SDG 16” week. You may recall, that “Social Development Goal 16” is the one that relates to the Rule of Law.

Getting the chance to speak at the UN is, of course, a fun experience but what is more important is the opportunity to keep spreading the message; business has an important role to play in advancing the Rule of Law

so, come on business world, join with us. It was also nice to be recognized by various parties, including the UN, as a real thought leader in the field and an organization that the UN looks to as a trailblazer for business working with the NGO community to make a difference.

Also, look out for our social media traffic later this year. We will be taking our message to the professional legal associations and their annual conferences; the American Bar Association, the International Bar Association, the Union International des Advocats. We support awards at these events for young lawyers, and lawyers generally, who are doing some amazing things in the field of the Rule of Law and Human Rights. I’ll be able to tell you more about that in blogs later this year.

So, in summary, like a great swan; all might seem serene on the surface but there is a lot of paddling going on behind the scenes and we are getting to the stage where, very soon, we can start making some really fun announcements. And then we’ll come knocking!!

 

IAN MCDOUGALL

About Ian

Ian McDougall is the Executive Vice President and General Counsel for the LexisNexis, Legal & Professional division of RELX Group. Mr. McDougall is also President of the LexisNexis Rule of Law Foundation.