Pro bono

What is Pro Bono?

Pro bono is the provision of legal advice without expectation of payment. The term comes from the Latin phrase pro bono publico, meaning ‘for the public good’, ie. that legal knowledge helps not just the individuals and groups that obtain the knowledge, but also helps improve society itself.

Background to the School of Law and Social Sciences scheme

Winner of a National Pro bono prize, the School of Law and Social Sciences pro bono scheme was set up by two students in 2001 to harness students’ skills for the benefit of the community. Pro bono provides a valuable introduction to the world of legal practice and involvement in pro bono work is highly valued by employers.

Current Projects

Prison Employability Project

The Prison Employability Project was started in order to help prisoners from Springhill Prison prepare for their release, it does this by aiding prisoners in their search and applications for employment and educational opportunities. Student lawyers work with prison resettlement staff to inform prisoners of their legal rights and their legal obligations under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act.

“I led a pro bono project which involved a group of law students visiting a local prison and advising inmates on education and employment opportunities as part of their preparation for release. This is something which I still assist with today and it was a great opportunity to give back to the community whilst enhancing crucial employment skills like leadership, communication and teamwork. I would strongly urge new and current students to get involved with similar opportunities as soon as possible because not only does it look good on your CV, it is actually really fun and interesting whilst building up your confidence in law.”

Daisy Routley, LLB graduate 2015, now a trainee solicitor at BT

Amicus Death Row Project

This project helps provide representation for those facing the death penalty, primarily in the United States of America, it also raises awareness of potential abuses of defendants’ rights. The project trains and places interns alongside capital defenders, and provides training and internships to student lawyers.

“I took part in Amicus' fall training, where we learnt a basic history of legal framework, racism and the death penalty in the US. We also heard stories from two death row inmates, Sunny Jacobs and Peter Pringle, who have since been exonerated. Advocacy particularly interests me. I could talk about it for days, but I applied [for the internship] because it’s quite literally a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity, and I want to experience the American death row culture first hand.”

Chloe Arnold, current LLB student took part in the Amicus death penalty training and then applied for a Summer internship with the Missouri capital sentencing project

Oxfam Lawyers Against Poverty

This project engages students with The Justice Fund – an initiative to support programmes dedicated to fighting the injustice of poverty. Students can get involved through volunteering with legal projects, such as conducting legal research, contribute to fundraising events and be involved in the selecting of projects that the Justice Fund supports.

“One of the projects I am currently involved with is coordinating efforts across law firms and universities, to provide work experience opportunities for individuals from the refugee communities here in the UK. I have also been involved in facilitating Summer Law Schools for young people from the refugee communities, in an effort to help them better integrate into our society and education system.”

Iulia Mirzac, Law graduate 2016, now working as an intern for Oxfam Lawyers Against Poverty