New national pro bono centre launched

A new National Pro Bono Centre welcomed lawyers and visitors for an open day on Wednesday (10 November) for a tour to see the ‘hub’ of pro bono charities in the sector.

The Chancery Lane based centre will house the profession’s national clearing houses for legal pro bono work, including the Bar Pro Bono Unit, LawWorks and ILEX Pro Bono Forum.

David McGrady, ILEX president said: “We’re very much creatures of the community. We like to give back to that community and so we do pro bono work. The centre is about bringing [these branches] together, improving knowledge, improving ideas – allowing the professions to bounce [ideas] off one another and give a better service.”

“[The new centre] gives us a home and a focal point. It allows everyone to work on pro bono on a daily basis.” he added.

The merging of the three branches of the profession in this way is an unprecedented move, but the centre hopes it will result in better communication, coordination, collaborative working and a more efficient service.

McGrady explained that despite the three branches of the profession being, to an extent, competitors; with pro bono they have been indirectly linked since 2002, with the newly opened centre bringing them together and allowing them to share ideas.

The centre, which is a registered charity, has received generous support has been given to the centre from City law firms including Allen & Overy, Linklaters and Slaughter and May.