Pro Bono

Pro bono is the Latin phrase used to refer to free legal advice. It is short for pro bono publico, which translates as for the public good. Pro bono work sees lawyers give free legal assistance to those who are ineligible for legal aid, but who are unable to afford legal fees.

At a student level pro bono is an excellent way to get involved in some real-life lawyering. Pro bono work can be as high profile as the case undertaken by Imran Khan, who advised the Lawrence family in pursuit of justice for the murder of their son Stephen, or as simple as giving someone advice on how to set up a small business.

Only fully qualified lawyers are allowed to advise on a pro bono basis, but students can also get involved under suitable supervision. When it takes place in a law school setting it is sometimes referred to as clinical work or clinical legal education.

For many students the chance to help solve real peoples legal problems is an attractive proposition, especially as it could be some years before they actually come face-to-face with a real client; pro bono can also (help students see how law applies in real-life situations. Another advantage is that it offers the chance to get some CV-enhancing experience.

Law firms and students can also become involved in non-legal pro bono work, sometimes called community action. This is basically anything to do with being a volunteer, such as taking reading classes at a school, coaching homeless people in life skills, or useful physical pursuits, such as clearing derelict land or gardening.

If you want to write about some of the pro bono activities that your law school/law firm is participating in then why don’t you get in touch?