A discussion on whether regulation is killing pro bono is part of a nationwide campaign to celebrate voluntary free legal services provided by the legal profession.
Next week the Law Society, Bar Council and the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) will sponsor National Pro Bono Week, which will highlight the pro bono contribution lawyers make. It will also raise awareness of pro bono opportunities among the legal profession.
Other highlights include a speech from Baroness Lawrence (pictured) on the impact pro bono lawyers had on her family’s battle to secure justice for her murdered son, Stephen.
The Society’s Junior Lawyers division is also marking the week by showcasing five pro bono projects in which junior lawyers have been involved.
Jonathan Smithers, president of the Law Society, said: ‘The legal profession is committed to providing free advice to many of the most vulnerable people in our society who would not be able to access legal help in any other way, particularly given the significant reduction in the number of people entitled to legal aid. We know of no other profession doing so much.
‘All this free advice is given on a voluntary basis, reflecting lawyers’ commitment to the communities in which they live and work and to our wider society.’
David Edwards, president of CILEx, said that the pro bono work in this country must not be overlooked as ‘it’s part of being a lawyer’. But he added: ‘Whilst pro bono can help fill gaps, it cannot ever be seen to be a replacement for legal aid.’