LawWorks (the Solicitors Pro Bono Group) is a charity committed to enabling access to justice through free legal advice. We encourage, facilitate, support and celebrate the contribution of pro bono (by solicitors, law schools, law students and others) across England and Wales.
While pro bono is not, and should not become, an alternative to legal aid – it makes an important contribution to accessing legal information, advice and representation. Supported by the Law Society, our members and funders, our work is informed by advice and support needs, developed in collaboration with partners and stakeholders and delivered by a network of committed volunteer lawyers and law students. We enable the provision of pro bono through:
- Supporting a growing network of over 230 independent pro bono clinics. We work with lawyers, advice agencies, charities and others to establish or develop new clinics, and provide on-going support, information, training and webinars and legal resources (including the online legal research tools Lexis®Library and Lexis®PSL);
- Our Not-For-Profits Programme facilitates the provision of free legal advice for smaller charities and not-for-profit organisations, supported by volunteer solicitors from among LawWorks members. We also provide free online training videos for charities, covering many of the common legal issues they face;
- We support more in-depth pro bono (‘secondary specialisation’), in areas of social welfare law. This includes supporting solicitors to provide representation at First Tier social security tribunals (for Employment and Support Allowance and Personal Independent Payment appeals), piloting an unpaid wages project, and, working with the charity Together for Short Lives, to provide legal advice and case-work for the parents and carers of children with life-limiting conditions.
Addressing barriers to justice: a ‘policy voice’ for pro bono
We work to remove barriers to pro bono and use evidence from the work of local clinics, our members and others to advocate for positive policy change to better enable access to free legal advice and to justice.
We have begun to build a ‘policy voice’ for LawWorks and pro bono, including co-ordinating a briefing for the Justice Committee on legal aid and the review of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) (supported by 15 organisations). LawWorks provides the Secretariat for the All Party Parliamentary Group on Pro Bono and Public Legal Education.
The support of our members is vital to our work. Membership of LawWorks makes an important contribution towards the achievement of our charitable objectives and supporting our work in enabling and celebrating pro bono and the importance of access to justice.
We have over 150 members, including some of the largest City and international firms, national, regional and local firms, and in-house teams, law schools and charities. We support our members in a number of ways, including information, guidance and advice (for example, in setting up or developing a pro bono project), and facilitating pro bono activity and connections through our Not-For-Profits Programme (including an ‘Honorary Counsel’ role for solicitors as a source of ongoing advice and support for a specific charity).
Members have the opportunity to nominate for our annual awards and have access to our training, online resources, newsletters and networking opportunities (including a quarterly pro bono forum and regional events), and have the opportunity to contribute to our growing policy work.
By joining LawWorks you will be supporting our charitable work to encourage, support and celebrate pro bono, and also our work to highlight – and address – barriers to accessing justice. The fee depends upon the size of the firm – with other categories for in-house teams and organisations.
For more information about membership of LawWorks and the difference your membership can make, please get in touch with James Sandbach, Director of Policy, at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 020 7092 3941, or visit our website at: www.lawworks.org.uk