Top firms sign up to new Pro Bono Charter
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Many law firms, in-house legal departments and other organisations including the Government Legal Department have become the founding signatories of the Law Society’s Pro Bono Charter.
Signing the new charter is a statement of commitment to access to justice for members of the public in need of legal services, but who are unable to access legal aid or afford to pay the hefty fees themselves. Signatories of the charter will also receive additional tools and information from the Law Society to assist in their pro bono activities.
The founding signatories of the Pro Bono Charter are:
- Alison Law Solicitors LLP;
- Ashurst LLP;
- Bates, Wells Braithwaite (Sudbury, Suffolk) LLP
- Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP;
- Clifford Chance LLP;
- Clyde & Co LLP;
- DLA Piper LLP;
- Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP;
- Gowling WLG;
- Herbert Smith Freehills LLP;
- Hogan Lovells LLP;
- Kingsley Napley LLP;
- Lincolnshire Co-op;
- Martin Searle Solicitors;
- Muckle LLP;
- Reed Smith LLP;
- Shoosmiths LLP;
- Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP; and
- Youth Legal & Resource Centre.
Robert Bourns, president of the Law Society, said: "The Pro Bono Charter founding signatories are providing a beacon for the profession by making this public commitment to improving access to justice for those who cannot afford to pay for legal services or access legal aid. The Pro Bono Charter offers a framework to unite the solicitor profession's pro bono strategies, policies and learning and further enhance the impact of the pro bono work carried out by our members. Solicitors do a huge amount of unsung pro bono work, providing voluntary, free legal services to those who cannot afford them or access legal aid. This ranges from larger firms supporting law centres or providing pro bono legal advice to charities, through to smaller firms giving free advice to clients who are unable to pay. The Law Society continues to underscore the importance of appropriate levels of investment in the justice system, which is a key public service like the NHS and education. Pro bono must never be viewed as a substitute for a properly funded legal aid system but rather should be seen as part of a coordinated strategy promoting access to justice, alongside public legal education and tackling barriers to access such as court fees."