News

Pro bono week: a quarter of barristers undertook free legal work last year

By on
19

Record high

The number of barristers undertaking pro bono work hit record highs last year, new stats reveal.

Never shared publicly before, the Bar Council figures show that one in every four barristers practising in England and Wales undertook pro bono work in 2018.

The legal charity Advocate (previously known as the Bar Pro Bono Unit) says the new numbers demonstrate the “growing commitment” of individual barristers to “fighting inequality” in the legal system. It goes on to acknowledge that whilst pro bono cannot substitute for a properly funded legal aid system, the figures highlight the important contribution made by volunteer lawyers.

Armed with its own stats, Advocate revealed its volunteer barristers clocked up over 10,000 hours of pro bono work in 2018. This equates to just shy of £2.25 million in uncharged fees.

Richard Atkins QC, chair of the bar said:

“I am delighted to acknowledge the valuable work done by many busy barristers, who give of their time freely to support those who would not otherwise be able to enforce their legal rights. Pro bono work is essential because of the limits of public funding. Those who do pro bono work provide a vital public service. I am very grateful to all involved.”

The 2019 Legal Cheek Chambers Most List

The figures come at the start of National Pro Bono Week, a nationwide campaign to raise awareness of the important work done by legal professionals and the voluntary sector to help people gain access to justice.

Now in its 18th year, the key themes surrounding this week include:

• Highlighting how legal volunteering makes a difference to the public and can lead to changes in the law.

• Showcasing pro bono work and achievements of volunteer lawyers.

• Demonstrating the career value of pro bono through events which explore the benefits of pro bono in terms of collaboration and impact on practice development.

• Specific areas of development and best practice in pro bono schemes, such as cross-sector collaboration, new forms of pro bono practice, improving pro bono technical assistance and use of new legal technology.

The Pro Bono Week organising committee comprises representatives from pro bono charities, law firms and law schools, with contributions from across the sector including Bar Council, CILEx and The Law Society.

Sign up to the Legal Cheek Newsletter

19 Comments

Jeremy Corbyn Fan

These stats seem to be faulty – most barristers do some form of pro bono, or cut price work, and go above and beyond what is needed for clients.

The profession is run on goodwill, which the government has done much to disrupt with legal aid cuts.

That’s why you need to VOTE LABOUR for JEREMY CORBYN to tax moneylaw greed at 85% to pay for legal aid!

VOTE LABOUR

FOR THE MANY, NOT THE FEW!!!!!

Alf

Oh I will. I’m particularly looking forward to ludicrously overpaid thicko solicitors receiving their comeuppance when Mr Corbyn wins a majority and introduces a fairer income tax rate.

Anonymous

Agreed. Some NQ salaries are absolutely absurd, even they’re working at a sweatshop.

London has become a playground for fat cats and foreign criminals, but remains pretty shit for everyone else.

Anonymous

45% income tax on top of a 60% marginal rate between £105k and £120k is not punitive enough is it?

Mr Whippy

So in the one hand, a labour government will get rid of the civil liability act, thus securing my healthy income, but on the other, its tax regime will deprive me of any of the consequent benefits 🧐

Anonymous

They do a handful of FRU cases and then never enter the office again. Because it’s hard to try and have a conversation with people who don’t hold Gold BA Executive Club membership, know about wine or own homes they can freely interior design.

Such inspiring people.

Realist

You sound both bitter and clueless. The FRU office is for students: those of us in employment actually have (a) work to do; and (b) offices in our firms/chambers. Why would we hang around FRU?

I don’t have any airline executive memberships, I don’t drink, my tiny flat is decorated by Ikea, but based on your chippy comments, I’d still rather not socialise with you. Have you considered that with your attitude you may be best suited to a career outside law?

Anon

Plenty of qualified solicitors and barristers take FRU cases, not just for students.

Elephant

If I as a barrister want to have lovely female law students as friends, it’s much easier to meet them at a charity than it is to go and enrol at a university.

Anonymous

I would feel very uncomfortable as a qualified solicitor to be supervised as I prepare a tribunal case by anyone who has not passed a TC or pupillage.

Anonymous

Given your quality of life, have you considered whether the stress and long hours in law are really worth it?

You could live in an IKEA flat as a social worker and still ‘help people’?

Anonnn

Will Secret Barrister write about how much pro bono they’ve done this year too?

Anon.

I think losing a CFA should count as pro-bono

Olly

Other than appeals of less than a day, CFAs are a mug’s game for barristers. Conditional work is a volume basis suited to firms not sole practitioners.

NZ

Not enough.

Anonymous

I didn’t sign up for the job to do justice or help anyone. I do enough work for free for the sort of dodgy clients who try to get you to work for them and then not pay.

cmorrison

JUDICIAL IMPUNITY/LEGAL SYSTEM ABUSE
WHISTLEBLOWER LAW FIRM /LAW CLINIC/HUMAN RIGHT DEFENDER:
https://judicialcriminal.com/

Book/amazon: Judicial Criminals The greatest fraud upon American society America’s Legal System
https://www.amazon.com/dp/b07g4k3qfy?ref_=k4w_oembed_ysuooh1t7ab8kj&tag=kpembe-20&linkcode=kpd

https://www.metrotimes.com/news-hits/archives/2019/06/05/us-attorney-michigan-is-the-nations-most-corrupt-state#.XbnFL0zoJgE.linkedin

https://www.judicial-discipline-reform.org/

https://www.prlog.org/12734665-un-human-rights-council-poised-to-address-prospect-of-judicial-impunity-in-america.html

Human Right Defenders?
https://www.ohchr.org/_layouts/15/wopiframe.aspx?sourcedoc=/documents/countries/lac/hrdamericas/nationaljudicialconduct_disabilitylawproject.docx&action=default&defaultitemopen=1

Reparations for victims of human rights violations are not optional, says a new report by UN expert Fabián Salvioli. how.ly/m04W50wT1Hl

See Case No. 3:13-Cv-1944 Cab Blm Judge Cathy Ann Bencivengo First Amended Complaint
1. Violations Of The Civil Rights Act Of 1871 (42 U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1985, 1986)
2. RACKETEERING AND CORRUPT ORGANIZATIONS ACT OF 1970 (18 U.S.C. § 1962);
3. FALSE ADVERTISING (15 U.S.C. § 1125);

Anonymous

Take down this cut and paste dross.

Sneaux Phlake Special

Is this triggering you?

Join the conversation

Related Stories