Would your pro bono work benefit from the support of a barrister?
The Pro Bono Connect scheme aims to establish a network of barristers and solicitors willing to work together on pro bono cases in civil matters for individuals, charities and community groups who cannot afford to pay for legal advice/representation and for whom public or alternative means of funding are not reasonably available.
The scheme is currently limited to the following areas of law:
- common law
- public law
- tax cases
Through the scheme, Pro Bono Connect may be able to find you barrister assistance.
For more information, download:
If you would like further details about the scheme, please contact our Pro Bono Policy Advisor, Kerry Nicholson, at Kerry.Nicholson@lawsociety.org.uk.
K&L Gates case study on the Pro Bono Connect scheme
The Pro Bono Connect scheme has worked very well for us. It makes so much sense for solicitors and counsel to have a formal referral structure like this in place. The referral process has been made as quick and simple as possible, which really helps. We have used the scheme successfully on three occasions so far, summarised below.
The first was a barrister request for assistance for a client who had lost his savings in a company of which he had been a director and who was now being falsely accused by the liquidators of misfeasance in relation to the whereabouts of a large number of stock items to the value of approximately £500,000. The matter was to be tried six weeks from instruction which meant that not only was it a worthy cause and within our area of expertise but also it had a finite timeframe. The client had been self-representing for several years and his case documents had not reassured the liquidators. We assisted counsel in filing an amended defence and then spent many hours with (and without) the client collecting the evidence into a comprehensive witness statement to trace and explain the journey of each item. This resulted in a negotiation culminating in the liquidators withdrawing the entire claim just three days before the trial and without seeking payment of legal costs. The client was understandably relieved and very grateful for our assistance.
The second was a barrister request for a one-off piece of advisory work on an information-sharing agreement for a major national charity. Although the request came via counsel, hence the use of the scheme, it was in fact a request for direct solicitor assistance without counsel’s involvement. In that respect it was atypical, but very useful from our perspective. We were able to strike up a relationship with the charity’s GC whilst performing the work and we are now under consideration for future pieces of work for them.
The third was a solicitor request for assistance with the defence of an unfair dismissal claim in the Employment Tribunal on behalf of a charity which had dismissed an employee for inappropriate behaviour. Counsel’s assistance was required to review witness statements and represent the client at the hearing. Ultimately the matter settled favourably for the client. It was brilliant to be able to obtain counsel’s assistance so quickly and easily.