Pro bono facts

Pro bono is voluntary legal advice given to those who are unable to afford it and cannot access legal aid. This page provides some useful information and figures about pro bono work in England and Wales.

infographic showing solicitors work 60 pro bono hours per annumSolicitors1

  • 42 per cent of solicitors had undertaken pro bono work in the preceding twelve months.
  • 49 per cent of solicitors working in private practice had provided pro bono services.
  • 63 per cent of solicitors working in sole practices had undertaken pro bono work.
  • 43 per cent of solicitors working in the largest firms (81+ partners) had undertaken pro bono work.
  • The average number2 of pro bono hours worked by all solicitors over the past year was 22 hours.
  • The average number of pro bono hours worked by solicitors performing pro bono work was 52 hours. The number of pro bono hours worked ranged from one hour to over 350 hours.
  • Of those not providing pro bono services in the preceding 12 months, 40 per cent suggested that there were not adequate opportunities to do so.
  • Findings from the PC Holder Survey 2015, including data on the number of pro bono matter starts, will be available in November, for National Pro Bono Week.

Firms3

  • 59 per cent of firms had conducted pro bono work in the preceding twelve months.
  • 91 per cent of large firms (26+ partners) reported undertaking pro bono work compared to 63 per cent of medium-sized firms (5-25 partners) and 58 per cent of small firms (1-4 partners).
  • 43 per cent of larger firms encouraged their fee-earners to conduct pro bono work, compared to 12 per cent of medium-sized firms and 14 per cent of small firms.
  • 94 per cent of firms allowed fee-earners to undertake pro-bono work during working hours.
  • 23 per cent of firms allowed time spent on pro bono work to count towards solicitors' chargeable hours targets.
  • 54 per cent of large firms allowed time spent on pro bono work to be treated as chargeable time compared to 35 per cent of medium-sized firms and 20 per cent small firms.

Law Society work on Pro Bono

1 Figures taken from the Law Society PC Holder Survey 2014, for which 1,517 solicitors were interviewed by telephone during July to October 2014.
2 Using the mean
3 During November 2014 to January 2015, senior representatives from 1,000 randomly selected firms were interviewed by telephone about their firm and its operating environment for the Law Society Firm Survey 2014.

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