Stats reveal US law firms in the City rack up the most pro bono hours

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2.5 million pro bono hours completed globally over the last year


US lawyers in the City are clocking up the most pro bono hours according to the latest statistics published by TrustLaw earlier today.

The 2016 index — produced in conjunction with the Thomson Reuters foundation — reveals that lawyers at the London-based US outfit Seyfarth Shaw racked up an average of 61 hours of pro bono work. Taking the coveted top spot, the stats show that 40% of the firm’s City lawyers had completed at least 10 hours of pro bono work.

Moving down the list, our cousins across the pond continue to dominate the British pro bono standings.

London lawyers at Weil, Gotshal & Manges, Dechert and Arnold & Porter all produced impressive pro bono averages of 55+ hours. Elsewhere, fellow US outfits Paul Hastings and Morrison and Foerster are other strong performers, clocking up averages of 49 and 52 hours respectively.

The latest figures reveal a “small decline” in the number of fee earners completing pro bono hours, but an “incremental increase” in pro bono engagement by partners.

The average fee earner completed 21 hours of free work, down from 22 last year, meanwhile the percentage of partners who spent time on pro bono work increased from 38% to 41%.

With 2.5 million pro bono hours completed globally over the last year, the average lawyer undertook almost 40 hours of additional unpaid work.

Speaking to Legal Cheek, Thomson Reuters Foundation’s legal director, Nicholas Glicher, said:

English law is seen as a global standard and English-qualified lawyers are in huge demand for their services as a result. Though the average hours recorded this year were slightly lower than last year, the Index shows that firms in England and Wales continue to devote significant resources to pro bono initiatives, with highly skilled professionals able to leverage their expertise in support of initiatives the world over.



As a criminal pupil, I do about 20 hours of pro bono a day.



Good job you’re not self employed…



If only 25% of Links lawyers do more than ten hours of pro bono, and the number of hours per lawyer is 46, that must mean some people are doing a rather big chunk of it. I know they do a lot of work for certain charities (e.g. The Barbican) but it’s clearly rather concentrated.



No one cares. All I needs is pilez of dolla!



yes mate



Given that pro bono work is not billed to clients, these figures have to be taken with a massive dash of salt. If somebody asked me how much pro bono work I do, I would literally be making up a figure, as I simply do not have any records of my pro bono time.

I’d be inclined to conclude that these figures show very little other than that American firms exaggerate more than British ones.

I also wouldn’t be surprised if many law firms think that pro bono means giving somebody a discount when they complain about their bill.



I disagree – pro bono has always had far more emphasis in the States than over here in the UK. It makes sense that the US firms tend to do slightly more hours on average than the UK firms.

Also, not many, but a few of the US firms do count pro bono hours toward your overall ‘target hours’.


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