The 21st annual Pro Bono Week will take place from 7th – 11th November 2022. It will offer an opportunity to recognise and support the voluntary contribution made by the legal profession across the UK in giving free legal help to those in need.
This year during Pro Bono Week organisations are encouraged to plan events around six key focus areas:
- Lawyers stepping forward when it matters: Set against the outpouring of support from lawyers in response to the Afghanistan and Ukraine crises, Pro Bono Week will discuss how the response from different areas of the profession has been coordinated and can be delivered for future emergencies.
- 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 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?
Each focus area will have a small working group coordinating events. To join the working group for one or more focus area please email email@example.com. Law firms, chambers, legal societies, charities, in-house lawyers, law schools and universities are encouraged to plan events or campaigns, both internal or external, to take place throughout the week. It is also an opportunity to publish reports or launch new initiatives to an engaged pro bono audience.
2021 saw the 20th anniversary of Pro Bono Week, involving 55 events in person and online, with an estimated 3,000 attendees. It was a pivotal moment to look ahead to the next twenty years of pro bono whilst also shining a spotlight on some of the key moments and cases from the past two decades. This look to the future coincided with the focus on climate change taking place in November with the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow. The full report on Pro Bono Week 2021 can be read here.
For help, or to tell us your plans, please contact Mary Dobson Smith, project lead, at firstname.lastname@example.org