Conflict counsel

Some organizations have the idea of a 'conflict counsel' : someone on staff or on retainer (paid for by the organization) who is able to represent clients other than the organization, and keeps their work separate from that of the other legal staff.

For instance, they could represent students in cases where their interests might conflict with that of a school. Or staff in case their individual interests might conflict with that of the company. Or community members in a distributed global network. They are available to provide consultation, and to offer direct legal advice to those individuals. This is generally set up as a shared resource, not to be used frivolously: limited to situations considered important enough to warrant use of such a counsel.

As the WMF has a legal team that is obligated to represent the WMF as an organization, and does not give direct legal advice to community members, it is in a good place to consider having such a role, either as staff or as a firm on retainer. Similarly, other affiliates could support such a role: this is an easily distributable piece of movement support. It need not cost very much -- we could start out budgeting a small amount for it to see if and how it gets used -- and it would give peace of mind to risk-averse community members.