New pro bono survey launched, but will UK firms take part?

TrustLaw has launched its annual survey of law firms’ pro bono activities, and is exhorting British firms to participate.

The TrustLaw Pro Bono Index is the first global pro bono survey of its kind, identifying global as well as regional trends for pro bono and looking at how much pro bono law firms are undertaking from country to country.

However, last year just 38 firms with offices in England and Wales responded to the survey and just 26 provided data, the vast majority of those being US-founded.

Only seven firms with no American heritage (US-founded or with a US merger in their history) responded: Ashurst, Bates Wells Braithwaite, Berwin Leighton Paisner, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Linklaters, Nabarro and Simmons & Simmons. 

A spokesperson for Trustlaw said: “We didn’t receive sufficient submissions from UK law firms in the Index in 2015 simply because many firms were not aware of the survey.”

“Pro bono data matters,” director of TrustLaw Serena Grant said. “This is the feedback we have received from firms large and small – whether used by a pro bono coordinator to advocate for better resources, or a firm setting up its pro bono practice and wanting benchmarks on how their counterparts have structured their practices.”

Last year’s results showed that US firm Arnold & Porter performed best for pro bono in the UK, with its lawyers averaging nearly 80 hours each per year, and every single one of the firm’s London fee-earners contributed at least ten hours of pro bono work in 2015.

Firms can participate in the survey here.