National Pro Bono Week 2021
Pro Bono Week offers an opportunity to recognise the voluntary contribution made by the legal profession by giving free legal advice to those who otherwise would not have access. To mark the 20th anniversary of Pro Bono Week, we are taking the opportunity to reflect on cases from the past 20 years, and looking ahead to what our involvement will look like over the next 20 years.
Over the years our pro bono work has been directed towards three main areas: giving charities specialist legal advice; supporting community organisations that address access to justice and assist individuals in need; and delivering legal education projects. Along with our community volunteering, our pro bono work in our immediate communities demonstrates our strong commitment to social mobility and citizenship. More broadly, our collaboration with other law firms and the Law Society to provide support to worthwhile causes, and to investigate access to justice across jurisdictions, allows our lawyers to contribute to the fight against climate change and peace and prosperity internationally.
Looking forward, we will continue to build on our current pro bono practice by aligning our pro bono work with the firm’s priority Sustainable Development Goals. More information about how the firm is working to integrate the SDGs into business as usual in this year’s Responsible Business Report.
To mark the 20th anniversary of Pro Bono Week, we are taking the opportunity to reflect on cases from the past 20 years, and looking ahead to what our involvement will look like over the next 20 years. Read about our 2020 reflection here.
DAVID WATKINS, PARTNER
We celebrate National Pro Bono Week at Slaughter and May. We absolutely love working with the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity. It is such a great honour being able to play a small part in supporting their excellent work, and the RMCC team is just fantastic – full of energy; great ideas; slick and professional.
CLAIRE COOKE, Partner
I am delighted by our continuing work with The Chancery Lane Project, which allows us to use our professional skills in the fight against climate change.
Gabriel Lim, associate
I’d say I’ve enjoyed being involved in pro bono generally; access to justice, information, skills and whatever else we as lawyers happen to be able to aid others with is oftentimes woefully inadequate and so I try to do what little I can to tip the balance the other way, even if only slightly! I very much appreciate the opportunities the firm has offered for us to get involved in programmes ranging from mentoring students, to advising at legal clinics, to acting as a ‘critical friend’ to non-profit organisations, and would wholeheartedly recommend anyone else to take advantage of the wide range of offers as well.
Elizabeth Cooper, Trainee
I feel honoured to have assisted with the firm’s pro bono work for the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity; my father was a patient at a Royal Marsden hospital, so I know first-hand the incredible treatment and care they provide.
phoebe robinson, TRAINEE
It has been a pleasure to be involved in a broad range of initiatives to support our pro bono partners. Working with a charity which helps children with special educational needs has been exceptionally rewarding; the cause is very close to my heart. Having the opportunity to participate in The Chancery Lane Project and use legal drafting to promote net zero was also both fascinating and topical.
RICHARD LIU, ASSOCIATE
It’s been a rewarding experience leading the Lawyers at Risk project with the Law Society of England and Wales. We’ve been working on the report since summer of 2020 with local counsel partners in 14 other jurisdictions. It’s a real showcase of how our pro bono efforts are global.
ASHWINI Ponnampalam, ASSOCIATE
I enjoy being able to contribute to the firm’s pro bono initiatives for a variety of worthwhile causes, both by using legal skills applied in my day-to-day fee-earning work to assist charities such as Voyage Youth (a social justice charity that works with young people from BAME backgrounds) and in a completely different space, such as being joint-coordinator of the firm’s efforts to assist Amicus and the Florida Centre for Capital Representation by reviewing and maintaining information on death penalty cases in Florida, the United States.
HAZEL DORAN, TRAINEE
I have really enjoyed doing pro bono corporate work for the IIC because our contacts at the charity are very friendly and always grateful for the work we do. As a trainee you can get quite a lot of responsibility to communicate with the client directly and work closely with a small team at the firm which is a great learning experience!
LORNA NSOATABE, associate
I have supported both ROTA and The ME Trust recently and find the work we are doing to be both greatly appreciated and intellectually challenging. Aside from the real positive impact on the charities being supported, it has been really fun working with people in a completely new sector and with a refreshingly different way of thinking. I have hopefully been useful and learnt new skills!
olivia hosker, associate
On the International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works: “Helping the IIC with their corporate matters has been a fantastic opportunity – both in terms of professional experience and on a personal level to feel like we are making a difference. We’ve developed a close relationship and it’s great to see how they are achieving the institute is achieving its goals with our assistance."
Lizzie Twigger, Senior and In-house Counsel
I have been involved with the Legal Advice Centre at Bethnal Green throughout my career at the firm, initially as a volunteer, and for the last 15 years or so as a trustee and now Chair of the Trustees. When I first started volunteering, being aware of the employment issues faced by the clients of the Centre kept my feet firmly on the ground and made me a more rounded employment lawyer. It has been a privilege to be able to play a key supporting role as a trustee of the charity, which does such important work in an area of huge social deprivation and inequality, and I have learned a huge amount from my involvement both personally and professionally.
ROBERT BYK, PARTNER
National Pro Bono Week offers an opportunity to reflect on the importance of sharing our professional skills and it is timely that this year National Pro Bono Week falls during COP26. As one of the partners overseeing pro bono work I am committed to further aligning our pro bono work with the Sustainable Development Goals and empowering our lawyers to share their skills with non-profit organisations. I am thrilled to work with numerous pro bono clients including the Green Finance Institute and British Red Cross.
Simon Bartle, Senior Counsel
It is great to have the opportunity to use our legal training to provide support to charities who need legal advice. It has been rewarding to support Crisis UK on a number of transactions relating to their property portfolio, ranging from their first freehold acquisition to a lease of warehouse space to support the Crisis at Christmas operation.
Tim Morrison, Associate
In addition to the work that the firm has been doing in relation to the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines on behalf of the African Union, it has been great to support the UK’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic by providing pro-bono advice to the Healthcare Workers' Foundation (HWF) - a charity set up in March 2020 to support frontline healthcare workers and the NHS. During lockdown, I advised HWF on contract negotiations with partner organisations to provide free childcare to NHS workers, and also on the terms and conditions of HWF’s Memorial Fund, a project aimed at providing students who have lost a parent to COVID-19, and who are enrolled in a higher education course, with a £5000 grant (per year) to support their costs of living whilst at university.
Jade Ewers, associate
It is rewarding being a volunteer for a legal advice centre and great to see the positive impact this work can have on recipients.
Matthew Hearn, Trainee
I have enjoyed working on a project for The British Red Cross this year, which has been a thoroughly rewarding experience. I am proud to be part of a firm which takes its pro bono responsibilities seriously.
michael craig, associate
We celebrate national Pro Bono Week at Slaughter and May. As lawyers, we are committed to sharing our professional skills with non-profit organisations. It is a pleasure to volunteer for the Citizens Advice Bureau at the Royal Courts of Justice, helping individuals pursue their cases and to work for pro-bono clients Joe’s Buddy Line and Mind With Heart, enabling them to achieve their mission to teach mental well-being and resilience in schools.
Claire HOOI, trainee
Through my pro bono work for Access to Social Care and Amicus, I have been able to help vulnerable individuals pursue access to crucial disability benefits and argue against death penalty charges; it has also been a delight to help the Green Finance Institute break institutional and legal barriers in the UK’s transition to a ‘Net Zero’ economy.
nicole hunter-edgar, associate
It is extremely rewarding to use my legal skills to assist non-profit organisations working with vulnerable individuals, such as Young Women’s Hub, who provide a safe and supportive education for girls and young women. It has been a pleasure to help Young Women’s Hub with various matters over the past couple of years.
ELEANOR HEALY-BIRT, associate
I am grateful for the many opportunities to share my legal skills with others, from helping individual clients at the Islington Law Centre to contributing to the state-wide analysis of Florida death penalty cases with Amicus.
David Cakebread, associate
I’ve always enjoyed working on pro bono matters – it’s nice to be able to help clients from across a range of charitable and social causes who often don’t have such regular access to legal advice. Recently, I’ve been advising Joe’s Buddy Line on their IP strategy and other related matters – it’s been really interesting and rewarding to help a relatively new charity navigate the various considerations involved in setting up from scratch, and I am looking forward to continuing working with them.