My understanding of the value of pro bono legal work has developed in light of my work for the Freedom Law Clinic (FLC) in relation to social justice, personal enrichment, and professional aspirations.
When I signed up for W360: Justice in Action and the pro bono activities, I was driven by selfish motives. I viewed pro bono as an easy option to gain practical experience and remedy the lack of legal work experience on my CVI chose to work at Citizen’s Advice (CAB). I thought this would be interesting, and it was. However, volunteering at CAB unexpectedly changed my whole perspective on pro bono.
Former ‘Justice in Action’ student Paula Virlan shares some of her journal posts written when volunteering for the Personal Support Unit ( now renamed ‘Support Through Court – https://www.supportthroughcourt.org/)
In November 2018, I completed my first shadowing session with the Personal Support Unit (PSU), part of the Justice in Action module offered by the Open University. After working ten days, I can share some of the roller-coaster of experiences and how PSU is helping me grow and develop professionally.
Former ‘Justice in Action’ student Catherine Martin writes about some of her realisations when undertaking our mediation project earlier this year.
Prior to embarking on my Open Justice mediation project, I was sceptical about lawyers’ motivations for carrying out pro bono work. I thought Pro bono lawyers fell into two categories: immigration and human rights lawyers with “a calling” and those that carried out pro bono just for career advancement. When preparing my first TMA, I wrote the following Open Justice Portfolio entry:
National pro bono week 2019 provides a great opportunity to celebrate the depth and breadth of the public engagement projects developed by the Open Justice Centre. Applied technology is often at the heart of these projects.