Pro Bono Week 2022, taking place between Monday 7th and Friday 11th November, promotes and supports the work of those within the legal profession who volunteer their services to those who couldn’t otherwise afford legal advice.
We at KCH Garden Square recognise that legal services can often be beyond the reach of those who have the greatest need or who are most vulnerable and that the provision of free legal advice and representation to these individuals is fundamental.
The benefits of pro bono work for both barristers and chambers extend beyond the obvious access to justice and a way for those within the legal profession to give back to their communities. Pro bono work, with the right approach by Counsel and their clerks, can be an investment in a barristers practice and a way to develop niche areas of work.
Through pro bono initiatives, junior barristers have the ability to gain experience and enhance their skillset with exposure to a range of matters which are not often part of their typical day-to-day practice. Pro bono work involves delicate client handling, something which certain practices do not provide much exposure to or which pupils, for example, will not have had a great deal of experience in.
Pro bono work as an avenue for personal development is also not limited to junior practitioners. Pro bono work allows barristers to explore many different areas of law they may otherwise struggle to access, particularly if their Chambers does not typically receive that type of work. Established practitioners who express an interest in expanding their practice with a particular area in which they may have limited practical experience in, can seek opportunities to do so via pro bono work.
Many members of KCH Garden Square provide pro bono advice to those who cannot afford legal representation, typically via Advocate, the Bar’s national pro bono charity which matches members of the public in need of free legal help with barristers who are willing to donate their time and expertise in deserving cases. Advocate plays an important role in allowing barristers to balance their practice with making a significant contribution to the community.
The pro bono cases on which our members have assisted span a range of matters. Many fall within the issues that our barristers are well versed in but some are more challenging, including those involving immigration issues, forced marriages and also transgender children cases.
Pro Bono Week is a great opportunity to both to display the work being done to help those in need of legal advice, but to also highlight that more can, and needs to, be done. Hopefully, with the discussions taking place across the week, others will be inspired to volunteer their time and offer their assistance to those in need.