BLP, Freshfields among 300 firms on Manchester bombing pro bono panel

Ashurst, Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP), DWF and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer are among the firms to have applied to give pro bono advice after the Manchester bombing.

The Manchester Law Society said it had received nearly 300 applications in the past week from law firms willing to assist bereaved families with inquests and help seriously injured people with claims for the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.

It launched the legal advice rota last Tuesday – a day after the attack at the Manchester Arena that killed 23 people, including the bomber.

Manchester Law Society chief executive Fran Eccles-Bech told The Lawyer that she had received nearly 300 applications, which had surpassed the organisation’s expectations.

She added a wide range of City firms and local firms had applied, as well as barristers and in-house legal counsel.

Firms include London-headquartered Ashurst, Berwin Leighton Paisner, DWF and Freshfields.

US firms have also applied, such as Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer, Hogan Lovells and Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom.

Yorkshire-based Hudgells is just one of the many regions firms to have contacted Manchester Law Society, with a large number of local city firms contacting the law group.

The legal department of Manchester City FC has further applied to provide pro bono advice to victims of the attack.

Eccles-Bech said: “We’re currently sorting out a database to match expertise with the need, as every firm will specialise in different areas.”

She added: “We’re also working with the police and victim support units, so that we’ll be ready for when people start asking for advice.”

The Manchester Law Society last set up a similar pro bono unit in 1996 after the IRA bombing in the city. Although no-one was killed in the incident, the attack injured over 200 people and caused damage to buildings in the vicinity.

Withers announced this morning it is representing the British Red Cross in the creation of the We Love Manchester Emergency Fund and launch of a fundraising concert at the weekend. Charities partner Chris Priestley is leading the team.

More details on the pro bono rota can be found on the Society’s website. Lawyers interested in helping should contact FranEccles-Bech@manchesterlawsociety.org.uk with their name, firm, full contact details and area of speciality.