World Suicide Prevention Day
Alongside our work on charities and community, diversity and inclusion, wellbeing and environment, pro bono is an area that staff members are actively encouraged to take part in. The work counts towards billable time and, perhaps unusually compared to other firms, there is no hours cap on how much staff do.
In the last financial year to 30 April 2020, we recorded 3,310 chargeable pro bono hours over some 75 matters. Approximately 150 fee earners took part. Averaged across the firm, this worked out at 13 hours of pro bono time per fee earner.
Respect for the rule of law and the proper administration of justice, the assertion and defence of human rights including the right of access to justice, and challenging miscarriages of justice are principles which have always been at the heart of Kingsley Napley’s values. We continue to stand up for such principles and rights in a lot of the work we do on a pro bono basis.
When the pandemic hit we noticed an increased need generally from the voluntary organisations and charities we work with, typically smaller not-for profit organisations. We fundraised and donated monies where we could but also provided pro bono help.
Here are three examples of our recent pro bono work:
Dogs on the Streets (DOTS) is one of the charities that the firm supports. DOTS is a very small but mighty, multi award winning charity dedicated to the welfare of dogs belonging to the UK’s homeless community. DOTS is volunteer run, and provides mobile veterinary services at pop-up stations in London and other UK major cities as well as other essential items for dogs including check-ups and medication. Just before lockdown, our real estate and employment teams helped DOTS secure premises on the outskirts of London and finalise employment contracts for the on-site kennel staff. This allowed them to move into their kennels with plenty of land and to provide full time accommodation for dogs taken into temporary care. This facility came into its own when lockdown hit and many homeless people were taken off the streets and placed into hotels but were unable to take their dogs with them. DOTS put the dogs into temporary kennel accommodation and regularly updated the homeless owners with photos, videos and calls to ensure them that their dogs were being kept safe. We are pleased by the part we played in ensuring this facility was available.
Another example of pro bono in action during this pandemic has been our work for Z2K (Zacchaeus 2000 Trust), another small but impressive charity in London that assists people with their housing and welfare issues. We volunteer before the First Tier Tribunals in London helping Z2K clients to appeal welfare benefit refusals. We have been involved in this work for several years and it is one of our more established projects with approximately a fifth of our fee earning staff taking part from across the firm. Z2K has a success rate of over 80% at tribunal stage. Kingsley Napley volunteers regularly say how grateful they are to be able to take part in this work and help those individuals in our society who really do need help to access justice and navigate a system that seems designed to dissuade anyone from appealing.
In this the 19th Pro Bono Week, it is clear that law firms like Kingsley Napley are involved with a wide-range of pro bono work and are generously giving time, advice and assistance that makes a real difference on a local and international basis. As the voluntary sector reels from dealing with the pandemic and trying to continue services for their users, this support from lawyers is more important than ever.
Pro Bono Week helps remind us all what we can contribute as expert individuals and as a sector. However, most will agree that pro bono legal services are not, nor can they ever be, a substitute for a properly funded system of legal aid.
Linzi McDonald is the pro bono and responsible business manager at Kingsley Napley. Linzi runs the pro bono programme and has oversight for all elements of our responsible business areas including diversity and inclusion; charities and communities; environment; and wellbeing.
Since joining Linzi has significantly increased the number of pro bono hours we undertake and has generated engagement from all practice and support teams across the firm.
Pro Bono and Responsible Business Manager
Following the tragic events of this week, I have thought back to the past two weeks and considered how my position might have been different if I was a woman. I now recognise just how incredibly ‘normal’ it has become for women to be warned against walking alone at night, which is something I have never had to consider as a man. This dichotomy between the experiences of men and women has been made clear by the reaction across traditional and social media.
Kingsley Napley continue to support International Women’s Day to help forge a more gender equal world. As a firm we pride ourselves on having a workforce made up of over 69% women, with more than 50% in the partnership. However, we know that much work still has to be done in the legal sector and beyond.
Kingsley Napley had the pleasure of hosting an evening with Spark Inside. The charity coaches prisoners and advocates for change within the criminal justice system. Please read on to find out what we learnt and how you can help.
Pro bono is part of our DNA at Kingsley Napley. It is part of many fee earners’ weekly if not daily work. We have provided pro bono legal advice and services for several decades and it is now a cornerstone of the Responsible Business (RB) offering at the firm which I manage.
Today (September 10th) is world suicide prevention day and an opportunity to raise awareness, reach out to those that are struggling and demonstrate that loss of life can be prevented.
On 22 June, people will come together to celebrate what has now been called, “Windrush Day”. The day is being marked with celebrations around the country, which may well be a challenge given social distancing. However, as a quick reminder, this day is to mark the injustice and scandal that many people faced, predominantly from the Caribbean who, after being in the UK for more than 50 years were asked to leave the country.
During Carers Week 2020, we help to make caring visible by sharing voices of staff members at Kingsley Napley, who are either carers themselves or witness the effects of others being required to fulfil a carer’s role. Today, we share Claire Parry’s story about her brother, who has an Acquired Brain Injury, and the unsettling impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on his stability, routine and well-being as well as the challenges experienced by his family and carers.
Carers are often unpaid relatives and/or close family friends; they can face practical problems such as not being able to speak to third parties on behalf of the person for whom they are caring and it can be difficult to access that person’s funds without legal authority. These practical issues can unnecessarily add more stress and challenges to the carer’s role, which should otherwise be focused on caring. To help alleviate this pressure, it’s important for anyone to look at ways they may be able to plan for and organise their financial affairs to help make these situations better for those who may need to care for them.
During Carers Week 2020, we help to make caring visible by sharing voices of staff members at Kingsley Napley, who are either carers themselves or witness the effects of others being required to fulfil a carer’s role. Today, we share Sarah Harris’ story about caring for her father, who suffers with MSA, whilst balancing responsibilities for her young children and for clients and colleagues in her role as partner in our Regulatory team. Sarah offers her advice to colleagues, friends and others caring for loved ones during COVID-19.
During Carers Week 2020, we help to make caring visible by sharing voices of staff members at Kingsley Napley, who are either carers themselves or witness the effects of others being required to fulfil a carer’s role. Today, we share Satvir Sokhi’s story as he reflects on his mother’s role as carer for his grandparents and some of the challenges she faces: practically, physically and culturally.
This week (8-14 June 2020) is Carers Week. The rallying call “lets raise our voices together and help make caring visible” could not be more relevant given the current situation the whole world is facing. In this blog, we reflect on the importance of marking caring visible and shares a story about her friend's experience as a carer at this time.
As the UK settles into its tenth week of lockdown, we are starting to see glimpses of hope that we might soon be back to work, the gym, and school. But while we are all looking forward to enjoying things we did before lockdown, we shouldn't be so hasty to revert back to all of our old ways.
The importance of kindness and mental health is always high on the agenda at Kingsley Napley, and we embrace the annual Mental Health Awareness Week as an opportunity to raise awareness among our people about the tools and channels available to support their mental health and wellbeing.
We are using this week to support #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek and specifically the theme of kindness at Kingsley Napley. As a black woman, mental health is a topic that has long both interested and troubled me. Specifically, why is mental health still reported to be taboo within ethnic communities?
Today marks the start of Mental Health Awareness Week and this year’s theme is “kindness”. In this blog, Senior Partner Stephen Parkinson reflects on the theme and the importance of kindness.
This Sunday marks International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia. On this day, over 130 countries around the world draw attention to the various forms of discrimination and violence that the LGBTQ community continue to experience. It serves as a reminder each year of the work which is still needed to achieve LGBTQ equality. David Sleight, a Partner and ally, at Kingsley Napley shares his experience below.
The current government lockdown is making everyone aware of their living arrangements. Relationships are being put under new pressures and the current emotional and financial impact of the virus may be causing additional stresses in a relationship. It is a sensible time to make sure you understand how you own your property and the implications of such ownership.
On the eve of the new decade, 31 December 2019, the first mixed-sex couples officially entered into civil partnerships, granting them the same legal protections as in marriage.
Let me start with the elephant in the room. As a middle aged white man I have had a privileged career some of which is a direct result of my gender. For most of that time I don’t think I really appreciated that. I qualified just before the number of women entering the solicitor’s profession exceeded the number of men. My perception was that, in the places where I worked, men and women were treated equally. Job done.
When you cast your mind back to last summer, you may have hazy memories of enjoying an aperol spritz during the heat wave, listening to Lewis Capaldi on every radio station, or your attempts to desperately avoid buying plastic bottles and single use cups.
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