independent clinics, providing free advice to individuals, predominantly in areas of social welfare law (eg, housing, family and employment). Advice is delivered face-to- face, and remotely over the phone and using
Foundation and the London Legal Support Trust, are often looking for interns to support the work of their organisations. There may be opportunities with other charities and organisations. Advocate acts as a clearing house, matching barristers prepared to undertake pro bono work with those who need their help. Applications are reviewed by one of a number of senior barristers and Advocate then makes a decision as to whether to try to find a volunteer barrister to assist. LawWorks encourages and supports the development of law school clinics and also organises the annual Student Pro Bono Awards, run in partnership with the Attorney General with a ceremony usually held at the House of Commons (the winners were this year announced online due to Covid-19). By recognising and celebrating student pro bono, the awards help encourage an interest and passion that will last and grow. Pro bono for qualified lawyers Opportunities for pro bono volunteering continue during training and pupillage. Increasingly, aspiring lawyers see opportunities for pro bono as informing their career decisions. For many, pro bono is an essential part of being a lawyer. It can help to build skills and confidence, develop teams and team spirit, and offers the chance to test oneself as a lawyer, perhaps in a new environment or a different area of law. LawWorks is the operating name of the Solicitors Pro Bono Group. Established in 1997, it is a charity providing support for local independent pro bono advice clinics and supporting the pro bono work of our members – largely law firms and in-house legal teams – and others. LawWorks’ programmes include the following: • The LawWorks Clinic Network – LawWorks supports a network of over 290
online platforms, including Skype. • The Not-for-Profits Programme –
LawWorks connects smaller charities and community groups with the skills and expertise of pro bono lawyers, strengthening their capacity and avoiding or resolving problems. • ‘Secondary specialisation’ – in response to growing need for legal advice and representation, LawWorks supports more ‘in-depth’ pro bono casework and representation, including training and supervising lawyers to develop expertise in areas of social welfare law. This includes a project for solicitors taking on first-tier social security tribunal cases, an unpaid wages project, and working with the charity Together for Short Lives to provide legal advice for families and carers of children with life-limiting conditions. • Pro Bono Connect – a scheme which matches barristers and solicitors working together on civil law matters, for individuals, charities and community groups who cannot afford legal advice or representation. • Free Legal Answers – a website providing access to one-off or initial pro bono legal advice on a range of civil law matters. LawWorks is also developing a ‘policy voice’ for pro bono, drawing on the experience of clinics, our members and the wider profession, to address barriers to pro bono and, more broadly, to better enable access to justice for all. Working together to achieve more In recent years, the support and co-ordination of pro bono in England and Wales has strengthened.
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