The Psychedelic Participant Advocacy Network (“PsyPAN”) is a non-profit organisation that aims to connect and empower individuals that are either taking part in psychedelic clinical trials or are receiving psychedelic therapy for mental health issues at treatment centres. There are an increasing number of legal clinical trials being run at organisations such as Imperial College and Kings College London where psychedelics are being used to treat a variety of mental health conditions. PsyPAN aims to feed participants' lived experiences back to the organisations providing these treatments to help create better treatment models, better safeguarding for participants and to create a sector-wide model of best practice PsyPAN is also creating a community of former trial and treatment participants and looking to connect them and help them support each other post-treatment via the creation of peer support spaces online and in person.
PsyPAN approached LawWorks as they wanted legal support with drafting an employment contract, as well as legal advice on various related employment questions. Speaking about the process of applying to the LawWorks’ Not-for-Profits Programme, Ian Roullier from PsyPAN said: “The process was straightforward and not bureaucratic. The information required from our side was clearly laid out, and future information that may be required was helpfully flagged during the initial process too. This allowed us to be prepared for the next stages of our application. Our LawWorks caseworker was diligent, responsive and conscientious throughout.”
Through the Not-for-Profits Casework service, LawWorks was able to match PsyPAN with a volunteer solicitor. Tom Fitzpatrick from the in-house legal team at Visa Europe provided PsyPAN with pro bono legal support, drafting a Directors Services Agreement and providing related employment advice.
“From the first call, Tom – who also showed genuine interest in our work as a non-profit – was a supportive and reassuring presence in helping us navigate our next steps to solidify our foundations as an organisation” explained Ian. He went on to say “We were very happy with the service Tom provided to us. He helped bring clarity to the confusion we had been immersed in for some time. His advice was clear and also contained practical steps and helpful links to further information. The advice we have received has meant we’ve been able to get an organisational structure in place that is clear, legal and ethical. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that without his advice and the key contracts and other documents he drafted for us, we wouldn’t be able to function as an organisation. He truly went above and beyond.”
Speaking about the match, Tom from Visa Europe said: “It was a pleasure working with PsyPAN – from the outset Ian was able to paint a beautiful picture of the good work they were doing. In drafting employment documentation for PsyPAN, I was heartened to know that I was supporting the team in their mission to empower psychedelic trial and treatment participants to combine and amplify their voices. Working with PsyPAN gave me the opportunity to offer advice on a variety of matters which I wouldn’t typically have the opportunity to advise on.” When asked whether he would recommend taking a pro bono case through the LawWorks Not-for-Profits Programme to a colleague, Tom said: “In no uncertain terms – yes!”