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It’s the 16th annual National Pro Bono Week, which is a very important feature of my life as a lawyer at Kingsley Napley.
National Pro Bono Week is a campaign to celebrate and raise awareness of the importance of voluntary and free legal advice provided by legal professionals. The Law Society’s figures show that over 2015 to 2016, solicitors provided an estimated 1.8 million hours of advice and assistance on a pro bono basis.
Kingsley Napley has a strong sense of corporate social responsibility. As a firm we are involved in a number of initiatives directly aimed at improving the environment and social wellbeing.
I have personally been involved in three initiatives:
A number of people around the firm have been working with Amicus to conduct essential document reviews. Amicus is a charity which was founded in 1992 primarily in response to the death penalty imposed against a black man in Louisiana who was poorly represented.
The work we have done has assisted the charity to uncover key documentation to support capital defenders in the US, who would otherwise be unable to review the documentation in important death penalty cases.
Z2K is a London based charity which, amongst other things, provides support and representation to individuals in respect of welfare benefits. We are assisting the charity by representing individuals at First-tier Tribunal appeals.
The Pro Bono Connect Scheme aims at establishing a network of solicitors and barristers who will work for individuals, charities and community groups on a voluntary basis in respect of a range of civil matters.
I was instructed through the scheme by a doctor who was facing an investigation by the General Medical Council. He had not been working for a considerable period of time, suffered from mental health difficulties and was based in the Far East, such that his ability to engage with the investigation was limited not only by his lack of funds, but also his location.
I was brought up in Hackney in the 1980s. The borough was not the up and coming place it is now. A number of people around me experienced difficulties with the legal system which, had they had representation could have been dealt with in a far less stressful manner.
Pro bono work provides a direct benefit to the wider community in circumstances where assistance is otherwise unlikely to be available.
As a lawyer, I can use my skills for the benefit of others and this is a truly rewarding experience.
Here’s to National Pro Bono Week!
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