Law schools plan expansion of pro bono activities in anticipation of increased demand

The majority of UK law schools are planning to increase their pro bono activities, a survey by LawWorks has revealed.

The solicitors’ pro bono group quizzed law schools across the country, and 85 per cent of respondents said that they planned to increase their pro bono activities, while only 15 per cent did not.

Collectively, they indicated that around 1,200 additional students would become involved with pro bono as a result of this extra activity. LawWorks estimates that this would take the number of students actively participating in pro bono work to around 10,000.

Some 86 per cent of respondents anticipated increased client demand for their services, with 93 per cent citing the cutbacks in Legal Aid provision as a reason. Nearly three-quarters (74 per cent) said that greater demand was also due to greater awareness about their pro bono work.

The survey also reveals that there are a much greater range of pro bono clinics in law schools compared with previous years. Public legal education projects such as Streetlaw were reported at at 67 law schools, generalist advice clinics were found at 45, placements at 41, subject-specialist advice clinics at 32, miscarriage of justice (Innocence Project) clinics at 21 and court and tribunal representation at 18. 

However, external funding provided to such clinics has decreased in relative terms. In 2010, half of all law schools doing pro bono work received no external funding. That figure is now 80 per cent.

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Law clinic
Source: LawWorks

Law clinics
Source: LawWorks