Another article in the Gazette about the reduction in pro bono work by solicitors. It is a sad indictment of the profession that, at a time when legal aid and funding for voluntary sector advice agencies are being slashed, denying access to justice to vast numbers, some firms feel justified in taking this step.
According to Law Society figures, only 40% of practising certificate holders undertook at least one hour of pro bono work in the last 12 months. I am a criminal legal aid practitioner and I know of no one working in this field who does not now do several hours of pro bono work in any one week. They are not prepared to leave vulnerable clients to sink or swim, when funding for much of this work is no longer paid.
I wonder what proportion of this 40% is made up of legal aid solicitors, who are already paid considerably less than privately funded solicitors. Perhaps some of the private firms who have reduced their pro bono contribution might like to reflect on this.
Bridget Irving, Evans Bissett, London NW5