Report on Pro Bono Week 2022

During November 2022, 68 public and internal events involving an estimated 5,000 attendees took place across the UK to encourage and discuss the role of the lawyers in volunteering to provide legal assistance to those in need. These were accompanied by various stories on legal outlets and posts on social media and websites.

For a roundup of each day’s news and social media from Pro Bono Week 2022 see our Wakelets for day 1, day 2, day 3, day 4, day 5 and for the following week.

Law students from around the UK volunteered to act as rapporteurs to take notes at most of the events, which have been distilled into a report summarising the discussions:

You can see details of all of the events that were part of Pro Bono Week 2022:

The themes chosen for Pro Bono Week 2022 were:

  • Lawyers stepping forward when it matters: With society facing a cost of living crisis, and in light of the legal profession’s response to the pandemic and crises in Afghanistan and Ukraine, Pro Bono Week will discuss effective coordination of pro bono in emergencies. The official launch event focused on the cost of living crisis.
  • The climate crisis is real; what can lawyers do? Following COP 26 the desire of many lawyers to tackle climate change is growing. Broad issues include pro bono schemes incorporating a net zero strategy, the voice of the community and the powerful interventions that can happen when clients and in-house teams are involved.
  • How to make the business case for pro bono: Events in 2021 underlined the value of pro bono within recruitment and retention, to enhance lawyers’ skillsets and to enable lawyers to make a difference through the law. We look forward to firms and chambers highlighting the impact of their pro bono work and sharing best practice in pro bono.
  • Can remote volunteering truly overcome geographical distance? Many lawyers appreciate remote volunteering, but organisations also stress the importance of going to where community need is located. What does a creative and strategic blend of remote and in-person support look like?
  • Pro bono; an ally of funded advice: Coordinating pro bono so that it works seamlessly alongside funded legal help can be more effective than a solely pro bono intervention. This year the sector is invited to showcase examples where mixed interventions have had a positive impact.
  • Specialisation; can lawyers be trained to meet the most urgent needs? Meeting the most urgent legal needs in our communities is a top priority, especially during the cost of living crisis, but the skillset of lawyers with capacity to do pro bono work often does not match the area of need. Can secondary specialisation and investing in increasing supervisory capacity address these issues?

The previous year the 20th anniversary of Pro Bono Week take place in November 2021, involving 55 events in person and online, with an estimated 3,000 attendees. A full report on Pro Bono Week 2021 and roundup of tweets, media stories and videos can be found here.