The focus is on the future as well as the past as Pro Bono Week celebrates its 20th anniversary from Monday. The event, endorsed by the Law Society, will look ahead to the next 20 years of pro bono while shining a spotlight on key moments and cases from the past two decades.
Pro Bono Week promotes and supports the work of lawyers who volunteer their services for free to people and organisations who could not otherwise afford legal advice.
’Free legal advice can be life-changing for people who would otherwise have to navigate the justice system without expert help,’ said Law Society president I. Stephanie Boyce. However she stressed the importance of adequate public funding for the justice system and legal aid ’so lawyers aren’t required to work for free’.
Pro Bono Week is organised by a committee that includes representatives from the legal professional bodies across the UK, pro bono charities, law schools and law firms. It aims to encourage members of the legal profession and law students to volunteer their time, as well as celebrating pro bono work and promoting best practice.
Chair of the national organising committee, Toby Brown, said: “Last year’s Pro Bono Week saw 50 online events involving 5,000 lawyers, students and members of the charity sector discuss the challenges, and best practice, in providing pro bono during a pandemic.
This year’s launch event will explore the past, present and future of pro bono with speakers Yasmin Waljee OBE, Kirsty Thomson and Emma Rehal-Wilde. Some of this year’s events are being held virtually, with others taking place in-person. Details are on the Pro Bono Week Website.