National Pro Bono Week

Blog post by Francine Ryan, lecturer in law and member of the Open Justice team.

National Pro Bono Week takes this week from 6th to 11th November 2017, it is an annual event in its sixteenth year, sponsored by the Law Society, the Bar Council and the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx). It brings together the legal profession in a celebration of the dedication and commitment to supporting individuals, charities and local communities. National Pro Bono Week showcases the incredible volunteering provided by law students and legal professionals in their communities.

Pro bono means for the ‘public good’ and for lawyers it is the provision of free legal services to those who cannot afford to pay. Lawyers are involved in pro bono in many different ways from volunteering in Law Centres, supervising law students in law clinics, or providing free representation in court.

There are lots of events taking place this week up and down the country that anyone can get involved in, if you want to find more information on events running in National Pro Bono Week click here.

Any law students in the North West of England should attend the Student Pro Bono Conference at the University of Manchester on Saturday 11th November. This is a great opportunity to find out more about pro bono and network with legal practitioners involved in delivering pro bono legal advice.

Law students at The Open University have the opportunity to engage in pro bono work in W360 Justice in Action, which is a new level 3 module that started this October. Students provide legal advice in the online law clinic and engage in public legal education activities that include delivering presentations in schools and in prisons.

The Open Justice Law Clinic is part of The Open University’s commitment to social justice it provides free legal advice and guidance to people and groups who may struggle to access appropriate legal support through other means.  The Clinic is now taking new enquiries, it is an online service run by The Open University Law School. The clinic is led by law students under the supervision of qualified solicitors. It offers legal advice on a variety of problems and disputes, such as contractual disputes, tort and consumer law and small claim issues. As the clinic operates entirely online, it is able to provide a service to clients in any location with an internet connection. Clients benefit from quality legal advice that is free, easily accessible and convenient. If you would like to contact the clinic please click here.

Pro bono activity is an important way in which the legal profession supports access to justice, and this is something you might like to consider taking part in as your progress through your law studies. You can learn about the Open Justice Centre by following us on twitter (@OU_OpenJustice) or visiting our website.

So, this week, reflect on how you can get involved in pro bono by engaging in events through National Pro Bono Week and beyond. During National Pro Bono Week, search for #NationalProBonoWeek and #WeDoProBono on social media to find out more about pro bono activities within the legal sector.

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