Our pro bono programme serves two purposes: it enables us to use our professional skills and experience to help members of our community, and to learn and to grow as lawyers. For that, we are indebted to the voluntary sector organisations which, year after year, welcome our associates and trainees through their doors.
We find that our pro bono initiatives are of particular benefit to our new and junior lawyers, giving them the opportunity to sharpen their skills as interviewers, analysts and communicators. As a result, they acquire skills that will make them exceptional lawyers; they also feel positive about themselves and about the profession they have entered.
We encourage all of our staff to use their legal knowledge and skills to benefit our local communities.
It is compulsory for all trainees to attend local law centres, and there are a number of other schemes people can get involved with. We may also provide ad hoc advice to other charitable organisations we support.
Our pro bono work includes:
In London, our lawyers provide weekly advice clinics at community law centers, assisting local people who may not otherwise have access to legal aid.
We attend the Tower Hamlets Law Centre, advising on employment law matters, and the Croydon Law Centre, part of South West London Law Centres, advising on consumer matters, small claims and tenant housing claims for rent deposits and repairs as well as eviction notices. We also support South West London Law Centres by providing venue space and marketing materials, and recently assisted with the implementation of a new, more efficient billing system.
Liberty Advice Line
Each month, our London office sends a number of lawyers to staff the Public Advice Line at Liberty (the National Council for Civil Liberties). Liberty campaigns to protect human rights and civil liberties. Liberty is a cross party, non-party membership organisation which campaigns to protect human rights and civil liberties. Liberty's work in pursuing this aim includes parliamentary lobbying, public campaigning, test case litigation (in particular judicial review) and the provision of free advice and information. The Public Advice Line's purpose is to give callers access to advice on their human rights and to provide them with guidance on how to seek a remedy where their rights have been infringed. It relies on volunteers from a number of law firms and barristers' chambers to be able to provide this service, which is often the first port of call for members of the public lacking the knowledge of the law or the means to enforce their rights.
LawWorks offers opportunities for lawyers to take on pro bono case work on an ad-hoc basis, to assist charities and community groups who cannot afford to pay for legal help. The requests cover a range of areas of law and can vary from short advice to larger projects.
Advocates for International Development (A4ID)
We are a global member of A4ID - a global charity that empowers lawyers to use their skills to fight poverty. As one of A4ID’s Legal Partners, we are offered pro bono projects from around the world which help to ensure that development organisations have the skills, knowledge and support to use the law as an effective development tool.
We encourage all of our staff to use their legal knowledge and other professional skills to promote social inclusion; benefiting those who are disadvantaged, under-privileged or lacking access to the advice that we can offer.
People in London can undertake voluntary work during office hours for up to 14 hours a year, and many give up significant amounts of their own time too.
We are involved in a number of projects with a primary focus on our local community.
Our pro bono and volunteering work includes:
Our pro bono and volunteering work includes:
We provide pro bono legal advice through a number of avenues; members of our staff (including partners) volunteer at a selection of local law centres, Liberty Advice Line, LawWorks and the Free Representation Unit.
Our people volunteer as “Caras” for the charity (“Cara” is the Irish word for friend). Caras share cottages with the children, looking after them, accompanying them in their activities, and supporting and encouraging them to participate. Caras share cottages with the children and look after them, accompanying the children in their activities, and supporting and encouraging the children to participate. Our volunteers also visit the castle out of season, to help maintain the grounds so that the charity can continue to provide therapeutic recreation for children with serious illnesses.
Together for sport
A programme aimed at giving both financial and practical support to a number of sporting charities and clubs whose activities target disadvantaged or disabled children and young people in London.
We are involved with Southwark Education Business Alliance (and previously Tower Hamlets Education Business Partnership), providing around 40 regular teaching volunteers for school-run programmes in our local community. We also offer mentoring to school children who visited our office throughout the year for skills building workshops. We also offer mentoring to school children, who visit our office throughout the year for skills building workshops.
Ronald McDonald House at Guys’ and St. Thomas Hospital
The Ronald McDonald House at Guys' and St. Thomas Hospital supports hundreds of families with children in hospital each year, providing free accommodation to help keep families together through the most difficult of times. Our people visit the house to cook breakfast and dinner for the families, and also to help with painting, decorating and gardening.
Helping Hands Club
We support the Southwark Helping Hands Club, a group for people with learning and physical disabilities. As well as financial contributions, we provide practical help in a number of ways. We send volunteers down to mix with the members on Wednesday evenings and regularly host a Christmas party for members. We send volunteers down to mix with the members on Wednesday evenings and regularly host Christmas parties and other events.