Law firms urged to set pro bono hours target
The time has come for a debate on whether firms should set ‘aspirational’ targets for the number of pro bono hours worked by their lawyers and staff, the attorney general’s pro bono envoy has suggested.
Michael Napier QC, who is also senior partner at national firm Irwin Mitchell, told the Gazette that working pro bono should not be compulsory - but suggested that setting aspirational hours would be a ‘legitimate encouragement’.
The US and Australia are already putting the idea in to practice, he said, and England and Wales should be ready to try it too.
Napier said the move would not be ‘a huge step beyond where we are now’ as many firms are already committed to encouraging pro bono activities.
Napier’s firm has a policy of encouraging its lawyers and staff to do 14 hours of pro bono work a year. City firm CMS Cameron McKenna this year launched a scheme to encourage 50 hours a year, roughly one hour a week. CMS senior partner Dick Tyler said: ‘Corporate social responsibility is firmly embedded into the culture of the firm and we wanted to be clear that our commitment as a firm was a real one.’
Tyler said the idea is to acknowledge contributions and encourage the whole firm to participate, with performance recognised as part of the appraisal process.
- Unanimous: profession votes for ‘training days’ action in face of cuts
- Hundreds attend legal aid protest rally
- Small business spurning legal services – LSB research
- HMRC proposes crackdown on LLP ‘disguised employment’
- PCT will mean the death of Welsh justice, lawyers warn
- Poor will suffer from court fee changes, MoJ warned
- Overwhelming public backing for legal aid: poll
- Fight PI changes, says MASS chair
- Mass meeting of barristers takes a stand on QASA
- Pannone turns to fixed-price mediation post-Jackson
- Grayling asks for quality standard for PCT firms
- 7,000 lawyers to hit the streets for free legal advice
- ‘Google’ asylum refusals
- Pilot aims to limit clinical negligence solicitors’ fees
- Will-writing could still be regulated
- In-house growth accelerating
- Appeal Court applies Russian law in dispute
- Insurers to revamp third-party code
- Court interpreters reject new contract deal
- European data plan labelled ‘demented’
- Saudi Arabia accepts registration of female lawyer
- Don’t worry about Jackson fallout – judge
- North-west paralegal initiative
- French revolution
- Criminal legal aid cuts to reach £370m
- SRA’s popularity slips
- Traffic courts to be set up
- Economy 'testing access to justice'
- MoJ plans crackdown on ‘so-called’ experts
- Midlands ABS issues ‘join us’ offer to insurers
- Law Society Excellence Awards now open for nomination <