The solicitor general has told charities spearheading this year's week-long pro bono celebration that he wants the event to reach out to new audiences.
Robert Buckland QC MP announced today that National Pro Bono Week will take place between 4-8 November.
He told staff at the National Pro Bono Centre in London this morning that, not only did he want this year's events to promote the value of pro bono, but 'in the adage of that lager commercial, refresh the parts others cannot reach. Reaching out to new audiences, making people more aware of the work you do and the value of pro bono'.
This year's event, which returns for its 18th year, will focus on four themes: how legal volunteering can make a difference; specific areas of development and best practice in pro bono schemes; showcasing pro bono work and achievements of volunteer lawyers; and demonstrating the career value of pro bono.
Buckland, who practised criminal law and planning as a barrister, said he was a big proponent of pro bono. 'It was drummed into me as a young barrister. I was a willing recipient of the message and benefited hugely from the work I did, and the public legal education work I started to do nearly 30 years ago and continue to do today'.
Lawyers have to represent the virtues of service, giving something back to the communities they serve, Buckland said.
As well as chairing a pro bono committee with the attorney general, the solicitor general also chairs a public legal education committee. Speaking to the Gazette after his speech, Buckland said the committee was 'slightly changing tack, with a focus on practical ways we can scale up public legal education'.
The committee is exploring ways public legal education can be delivered digitally and reaching out to organisations, schools and colleges in rural settings or hard-to-reach areas. For instance, Buckland said online modules could be developed for schools doing PHSE courses or where a lawyer is not available in person to help deliver a course.