A statement by the Joint V (Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool & Manchester Law Societies) on Pro Bono, June 2017.
What is Pro Bono?
The words pro bono derive from the Latin term meaning “for the public good”. It is defined in the Joint Pro Bono Protocol as ‘ legal advice or representation provided by lawyers in the public interest including to individuals, charities and community groups who cannot afford to pay for that advice or representation and where public and alternative means of funding are not available’.
People from all walks of the profession, from law students to QC’s are involved in Pro Bono projects and initiatives. The Joint V believes that access to justice is at the heart of the legal profession and that pro bono work, as one method of achieving this, is an integral part of the working lives of lawyers.
Pro bono can bring benefits to both the volunteer lawyers and those in receipt of the Pro Bono assistance.
How we can help
The Joint V law societies (incorporating Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester) believe that the profession as a whole, but more importantly their own members should strive to support the provision of pro bono assistance locally, nationally and internationally. Each of the Joint V members therefore commit to:
- Promote the provision of pro bono work in accordance with the Joint Pro Bono Protocol for Legal Work
- Adhere to the principles of the Pro Bono Charter and to encourage members who are interested in undertaking pro bono to sign up to the Charter
- Promote pro bono opportunities to members
- Facilitate pro bono projects (where premises and resources allow)
- Signpost members of the public towards local and national sources of pro bono support and assistance where appropriate
- Proactively help to build links between local third sector advice agencies and local legal practitioners for the purposes of delivering pro bono advice
- Provide opportunities for their members to share pro bono best practice and signpost them to sources of support and advice in relation to the provision of pro bono work (such as the Pro Bono Manual)
- Share pro bono best practice, details of successful initiatives and useful contacts with other Joint V members
The Joint V aims to do the above by ensuring their websites contain up to date information on sources of free legal advice and support for members of the public, by having a dedicated member for pro bono to ensure that the right information is distributed to both members of the profession and members of the public and by making pro bono a regular item on the agenda at Joint V meetings.