There are a number of ways you can source volunteer opportunities or kick off a project. They include:
External Law Firms
Partner with your external counsel who may have pro bono projects or casework that they need assistance on. Not only can you achieve more together, it is also a great and rewarding way to develop the client-law firm relationship.
If you are a member of LawWorks (paid membership), speak to them about potential opportunities.
About LawWorks. LawWorks is a charity working in England and Wales to connect volunteer solicitors with people in desperate need of legal advice, who are not eligible for legal aid and cannot afford to pay. Click here for further details.
LawWorks Free Legal Answers
You can engage in providing stand-alone advice through LawWorks’ Free Legal Answers.
About LawWorks Free Legal Answers. Individuals on low income, and not eligible for legal aid, can request initial or brief advice about a specific civil legal issue from a volunteer lawyer via this online free service. The service is run by LawWorks. Any advice and information provided by lawyers through the Free Legal Answers website is covered by professional indemnity insurance held by LawWorks.
National Pro Bono Centres
Visit the National Pro Bono Centre’s website for the most up-to-date volunteer opportunities, including clinic work, legal research, trustee opportunities, etc.
About the National Pro Bono Centre: The National Pro Bono Centre is a hub for pro bono charities across the legal sector. It supports the wide range of pro bono projects and brokerage which the charities provide, helping individuals and community groups all over England and Wales.
If you are a member of TrustLaw (free membership), volunteer for one of their opportunities available here.
About TrustLaw. Trustlaw helps connect charities that need pro bono support to potential legal advisors. Note that for any stand-alone advice, in-house legal departments would require professional indemnity insurance.
If you are a barrister, visit Advocate‘s website for volunteering opportunities.
About Advocate. Advocate is the Bar’s national pro bono charity that makes it possible for barristers to balance a dedicated practice with making a significant contribution to the communitiy. They match members of the public who need free legal help wiht barristers who are willing to donate their time and expertise in deserving cases for those who are unable to obtain legal aid and cannot afford to pay.
Law centres / legal advice clinics
Contact your local law centres / legal advice clinics and volunteer your time and expertise. Visit the Law Centres Network website to find law centre near you.
The In House Pro Bono Group recommends identifying mentoring opportunities, connecting lawyers with potential mentees, in the area of law. The following charities and organisations are worth contacting who have may have availability to participate in mentoring initiatives:
Aspiring Solicitors – https://www.aspiringsolicitors.co.uk/
Black Solicitors Network – https://www.blacksolicitorsnetwork.co.uk/
Urban Lawyers – firstname.lastname@example.org
Urban Synergy – https://www.urbansynergy.com/
Social Mobility Business Partnership - https://smbp.org.uk/
The following organisations came to speak to our members during our January 2023 roundtable event and encourage in house teams to get in touch to discuss ways they can assist:
Young Citizens supports leading companies such as Allen & Overy, Barclays, FTI Consulting, Sky and more to deliver inspiring sessions on the law, economy and media with state school students through Experts in Schools. These programmes offer impactful opportunities for top businesses to engage with young people supporting their corporate responsibility, youth and PLE impact. Employee volunteers deliver pre-designed lessons that allow their professional expertise to shine whilst discussing youth viewpoints on today’s biggest issues, from fake news to human rights. Find out how your in-house pro bono or wider CSR teams can work with their charity on volunteering or bespoke education projects by contacting their Partnerships Manager at Kirsty.Robertson@youngcitizens.org and mention that you are a member of the In House Pro Bono Group.
KIND UK provides free legal help to children, young people and families navigating the complicated UK immigration system. KIND UK provides a unique pro bono experience. KIND UK has expert supervising lawyers that train, mentor and support pro bono lawyers so that they can take on a case from start to finish. Securing the status of these children is life changing. By taking a case, you are really making a difference! For more information, please contact Annie Cooper email@example.com and mention that you are a member of the In House Pro Bono Group.
Lawyers Against Poverty (LAP) is a growing movement of lawyers dedicated to harnessing the untapped potential within the legal community to build a world without the injustice of poverty. LAP members can get involved in a number of ways, volunteering as legal educators in partnership with refugee support organisations though our Community Legal Confidence Programme, getting involved in collaborative philanthropy by donating to LAP’s Justice Fund to support initiatives around the world using the law to combat poverty, and connecting with peers through one of our Thematic Groups on Women’s Rights, Refugee Rights, Land Rights and Ethical Business. To find our more, get in touch directly with LAP’s Director: firstname.lastname@example.org and mention that you are a member of the In House Pro Bono Group.
Roots2Justice is a new legal empowerment initiative aimed at putting the power of the law behind social and environmental justice movements. We work in partnership with grassroots activists and communities in Latin America, Africa and Asia who are committed to protect the environment, advocate for environmental justice and to tackle negative business human rights practices. By connecting legal specialists across jurisdictions and grassroots communities on the ground we hope to build solidarity networks, share applied legal knowledge, identify best practice, and build more legally empowered and resilient communities. We are looking for legal specialists to collaborate and help facilitate interactive and bespoke training, capacity building, mentoring and informative sessions, as well as assisting with the design, research and production of training materials for our Resource Hub and Best Practice Forum. If you wish to join – please get in touch with Susi Bascon at email@example.com and mention that you are a member of the In House Pro Bono Group.
Other helpful assistance on finding pro bono projects can be found in the in-house pro bono guide. Click here for further details.