7 December, 2009
I recently received a telephone message asking if my firm did pro bono work. (The answer is “no”, by the way.) But this did cause me to pause for thought as it coincided with a report in the Law Society Gazette that: “The value of pro bono work done annually by lawyers has soared to more than £400m. … That figure does not include the contribution made by in-house solicitors or other legal professionals such as barristers or legal executives”.
You wouldn’t telephone a plumber and ask if he did pro bono plumbing. I doubt you would do this regardless of how poor you were or how bad the leak was. So why are lawyers viewed differently? Why are some lawyers prepared to give so much of their time for free? Undoubtedly, a lot of pro bono work is undertaken by lawyers working for Magic Circle firms or leading barristers who earn more money than they can spend and feel the need to “give something back”. However, this is not the whole answer and there are clearly those on far more modest incomes who also give their time freely. Well done you.
There are probably a number of legal aid lawyers out there who feel they would be better off switching entirely to pro bono work. The pay would be about the same but there would be far less forms to complete.
If there are any costs draftsmen out there who do pro bono work, let us know.