The voluntary contribution of the legal profession to help those in need is being celebrated through a series of events across all the home nations for the first time to mark Pro Bono Week, which begins on Monday.
Now in its 18th year, the key themes for this year's week-long celebration are highlighting how legal volunteering makes a difference to the public, showcasing pro bono work and achievements of volunteer lawyers, demonstrating the career value of pro bono, and exploring specific areas of development and best practice.
A series of laudable statistics were released to show the significant contribution the profession makes for free.
The number of pro bono clinics in the LawWorks network has now grown to 280. Last year, they helped 47,941 people, three-quarters of whom received legal advice and a quarter received further information or were referred to other services. Bar Council figures show that one in every four barristers practising in England and Wales did pro bono work last year.
A launch event will take place at the Law Society, in which Gazette columnist Joshua Rozenberg will chair a panel discussion on human rights and pro bono. Other events include legal tech and broadening access to justice in Wales and a lunchtime session for government lawyers to find out how to become involved with pro bono work. DLA Piper is hosting a roundtable on connecting pro bono practice outside of London at its Leeds office. Edinburgh Free Legal Advice Centre is hosting a 'Law in Society Showcase'. Northern Ireland practitioners are invited to meet the Public Interest Litigation Support Project in Belfast and discuss how to grow pro bono in the region.
The Law Society will also unveil guidance on pro bono for in-house lawyers.
Toby Brown, chair of the Pro Bono Week organising committee, said: 'We are really pleased with the breadth of events for year’s Pro Bono Week taking place across the UK, which will bring focus and debate to the important contribution that lawyers make when helping pro bono. Many lawyers like myself have seen the real impact that volunteering can make to a client’s life, but also how it can help develop your practice.'