National Pro Bono Week is a nationwide campaign to celebrate the range and impact of voluntary free legal services provided by the legal profession. It takes place from 2-6 November 2015.
National Pro Bono Week is sponsored by the Law Society, the Bar Council and the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx). Events during the week will highlight the pro bono contribution of lawyers while raising awareness of pro bono opportunities among the legal profession.
Highlights of the Week include:
- Is regulation killing Pro Bono? A panel discussion with legal regulators launched by the Attorney General
- Series of Spark Talks hosted by Afua Hirsch, social affairs and education editor at Sky News and a former Guardian correspondent
- An evening with Baroness Lawrence OBE; speaking about the role of pro bono and the impact that pro bono lawyers had on her family's legal battle to secure justice for her murdered son, Stephen
- Drop in sessions for MPs and Welsh Assembly Members to meet with pro bono organisations and discuss their work and how they can help their constituents.
President of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx), David Edwards FCILEx, said:
'Once a year we take time to highlight the work of lawyers who day in and day out use their skills to support vulnerable people through the toughest times in their lives for no pay or reward. We mustn’t overlook pro bono work done in our country as it’s part of being a lawyer. Whilst pro bono can help fill gaps, it cannot ever be seen to be a replacement for legal aid. I want to thank all those who work to ensure there is access to justice.'
Law Society president Jonathan Smithers said:
'The legal profession is committed to providing free legal advice to many of the most vulnerable people in our society who would not be able to access legal help in any other way, particularly given the significant reduction in the number of people entitled to legal aid. We know of no other profession doing so much.
All this free advice is given on a voluntary basis reflecting lawyers' commitment to the communities in which they live and work and to our wider society.'
Chairman of the Bar Council, Alistair MacDonald QC, said:
'The Bar’s pro bono contribution is both significant and vital to those in need of legal support. More than 3,600 barristers are on the Bar Pro Bono Unit’s volunteer panel, and nearly half of all barristers voluntarily contribute substantial funds to the unit each year. However, the BPBU is just one part of the Bar’s pro bono contributions. The profession’s work through the Free Representation Unit and other initiatives play an important role for those unable to obtain legal advice. National Pro Bono Week is an opportunity to recognise that contribution and encourage others to get involved.'
View the full calendar of events: http://www.nationalprobonocentre.org.uk/event-calendar
. Unless stated otherwise, National Pro Bono Week events are open to all.
Watch out for next week's A Day in the Life columns focusing on individuals closely involved with pro bono work.