Organization and policy


Lawyers for Lawyers is an independent and non-political Dutch foundation, operating on a worldwide scale. The foundation has a board of directors consisting of (former) lawyers and human rights specialists. An Executive Director and a team of staff members are responsible for the day- to-day management of the organization. Furthermore, Lawyers for Lawyers works with 50 highly motivated and skilled volunteers, consisting mainly of practising lawyers.

Vision and mission

Lawyers for Lawyers strives for a world where lawyers can practice law independently to effectively fulfil their role in upholding the rule of law and the protection of human rights. Our mission is to promote and protect the independence of the legal profession through the support and empowerment of lawyers who face reprisals, interferences and restrictions because of their work. Read more in our Strategic Plan 2022-2025.

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Strategies, programs and activities

To achieve our mission, vision and goals, we provide individual and structural support to lawyers and lawyers’ associations through three programs: Defend, Empower and Implement. Furthermore, we promote the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers to raise awareness and inform lawyers, other stakeholders and the public about the important role of lawyers in the protection of the rule of law and human rights and fundamental freedoms and enhance the understanding thereof. Read more in our Strategic Plan 2022-2025.

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Lawyers for Lawyers was established in 1986 at the initiative of the legal section of Amnesty International Netherlands with the support of the Dutch Bar Association, the Dutch Legal Committee for Human Rights (NJCM), and the Study and Information Center Human Rights (SIM).

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Willem van Manen, a Dutch lawyer and cartoonist, was Lawyers for Lawyers’ first president and the creator of the logo of our organisation: as a gifted cartoonist, he had the idea to depict lawyers as penguins.