In-House Legal Teams Focus on Pro Bono

Contributed by
2 Nov 2020

The In House Pro Bono Group (the “Group”) is a group of in house legal and compliance professionals whose aim is to promote pro bono activity across the legal industry. We believe that the provision of pro bono work is a professional responsibility for all lawyers. Our mission is to foster a culture of commitment to pro bono; promote and improve pro bono service and delivery; share knowledge, best practices and resources to build and strengthen in house pro bono service; connect in house lawyers, charities and pro bono professionals through networking and communication and collaborate to make the best use of our unique skill set and training for the benefit of others. The Group is led by a Steering Committee, which is made up of legal and compliance professionals from Goldman Sachs, Citibank, PwC, Bloomberg, Bank of America, GSK and Hewlett Packard. The Group welcomes all in house lawyers interested in pro bono work, irrespective of how developed your pro bono practice is.

The Group was founded in early 2019 and its current membership comes from over 75 different organisations and government bodies. We have supported the Law Society and LawWorks in developing an In house Pro Bono Guide for Solicitors as well as establishing our own website and social media accounts which contain resources, information and updates to help the in-house legal community to undertake pro bono work. We also host regular roundtables and training.

In-House Pro Bono Group meeting in October 2019

At the moment, our focus is on National Pro Bono Week taking place the week of 2 November and trying to encourage and facilitate in-house legal departments to undertake pro bono work. To that end, we would like in-house legal departments to dedicate Wednesday, 4November as an in-house pro bono day where lawyers can celebrate, promote and hopefully undertake pro bono work. During the week, we are holding training sessions providing practical guidance to assist lawyers in gaining the knowledge to provide legal support in areas likely to face critical demand during the pandemic, and a stand-alone webinar on realising the potential of the in-house legal community in this space. We welcome all to sign up to the events via the links on our dedicated National Pro Bono Week webpage. These events are not exclusive to in-house lawyers – all are welcome! We will also be signposting ways in-house legal departments can get involved in pro bono in the lead up to 4 November such as LawWorks offering three months’ free membership to companies, partnering through TrustLaw, mentoring, and volunteering opportunities at advice clinics.

Outside of Pro Bono Week, we are preparing for Financial Institutions Pro Bono Day, which is taking place on 14 January 2021. This year the Pro Bono Institute is hosting the annual Financial Institution Pro Bono Day which brings together volunteer attorneys and legal staff from financial institutions across the country to provide pro bono legal assistance to address critical legal needs of underserved communities. In addition, we are encouraging in house legal departments to participate in other projects and initiatives such as The Chancery Lane Project (“TCLP”) which looks to re-wiring contracts with a climate change focus, by drafting template clauses and model laws. The TCLP is an established charity with 300+ participants and 20+ law firms drafting climate change focussed clauses into a wide variety of free to use policies and contracts. Visit The Chancery Lane Project website for more information and the latest template clauses.

We would love in-house lawyers / legal departments who are interested in pro bono to get in touch with us and join our regular roundtable sessions where we discuss upcoming projects or receive our regular email updates. As an in-house community, the more we discuss pro bono the more we can motivate each other and identify new ways to assist those most vulnerable in society. We regularly publicise initiatives via our social media feeds on Twitter or LinkedIn and we even have an Instagram page!

To join the In House Pro Bono Group or for any questions, please contact us through our website.