In praise of …
unsung pro bono
When did you last hear a legal aid firm boast about the amount of pro bono work it does? Me, neither.
There seem to be two types of pro bono work: the sung, and the unsung.
The former is done as an optional extra, and tends to loom large on City firms’ websites. It is the kind for which trophies are handed out at expensive black tie awards ceremonies, and is generally overseen by a, no doubt handsomely paid, ‘pro-bono coordinator’.
And then there is the unsung kind. This is the kind done every day by every legal aid provider in the land. This is the unpaid work which fills the funding gaps in the system and allows justice to happen and the legal aid scheme to function. This kind of pro bono is rarely celebrated, or even recognised as such by the firms doing it. Yet the unsung unpaid work done by legal aid firms is vastly more significant than the lauded kind done by the likes of, say, Clifford Chance, DLA Piper, Dentons, Hogan Lovells, Nabarro, Norton Rose Fulbright, who are just some of the City giants to be short-listed for pro bono awards last year.
So, given that, how about this year we submit a nomination for one of these pro bono awards on behalf of the entire legal aid profession? I don’t mind helping out with the drafting.
The only problem would be finding the cost of admission to the ceremony.

About the author(s)

Description: Fiona Bawdon - author
Fiona Bawdon is a freelance legal affairs journalist and founder and co-organiser of the LALY awards.