Magic circle firm Clifford Chance has said it will give £73,000 to three legal advice centres to help them continue to support vulnerable communities in the face of public funding cuts.
The firm will donate £25,000 to Community Links Advice Services and £24,000 each to the Mary Ward Legal Advice Centre and the University House Legal Advice Centre.
The firm has long-standing relationships with all three centres, providing a combination of pro bono support and funding to run regular free legal advice clinics. Community Links will use the donation to help cover the cost of its information, advice and guidance manager, a role that was under threat since the near abolition of legal aid support.
Mary Ward Legal Advice Centre and University House Legal Advice Centre will use the funds to run free legal advice clinics.
Clifford Chance, which turned over £1.27bn last year, already provides eight trainees across the year to Mary Ward and free legal advice at University House Legal Advice Centre’s weekly clinics.
The firm’s pro bono partner Roger Leese said: ‘The deep cuts imposed on both legal aid and council budgets is a double-whammy for the UK’s advice centres. We have already seen one of our pro bono advice partners close as a result and it is difficult to overstate the strain that other advice centres are experiencing.’
Head of advice services at Community Links, Sharon Elliott, said the centre is seeing an increasing number of clients with legal problems and faces the ‘stark challenge’ of filling the gap left by the demise of local advice agencies.
She said: ‘Support from Clifford Chance will enable us to continue to provide legal advice to the most vulnerable members of our community.'