What’s It Like To Do Pro Bono Work?: The Trainee Perspective

Jess Thomas is a trainee at Nabarro and is regularly involved in providing free legal advice at a Pro Bono clinic. Here, she explains what is involved in a typical clinic and how it has benefitted her progression as a trainee solicitor…

  • Last updated Feb 10, 2018 5:22:34 PM
  • By Billy Sexton, Editor, AllAboutLaw.co.uk

“Law Works” is the operating name of the Solicitors Pro Bono Group. It effectively brokers free legal help for individuals who cannot afford to pay and who are unable to access legal aid or other forms of financial assistance.  

Nabarro has a dedicated team of people (ranging from secretaries to knowledge lawyers and trainees to partners) who volunteer their time to assisting this invaluable service for the benefit of the community. Since joining Nabarro as a trainee in September 2013, I have been involved in volunteering at the Pro Bono clinic which takes place near the city on a twice-monthly basis.

Clients attend for any form of assistance they might need meaning that every session is different and wholly unpredictable. The only certainty is that it is a far cry from the day-to-day corporate matters that would usually be faced at the office. Many of the clients’ queries can be answered during the appointments; a lot of scenarios can be solved simply by listening and providing basic next step advice such as who to contact with a complaint, or dictating a letter to be sent to a relevant authority or governing body. Others can require follow-up work to be carried out, which is generally delegated to a trainee.

I have found my involvement in Law Works to be enormously fulfilling for a multitude of reasons: it offers an opportunity to practise interviewing skills with clients; it frequently tests research and drafting abilities; it also expands your general legal knowledge by touching upon specialist areas of law such as employment, family, benefits or social housing.

Above all, however, by being a member of Law Works you achieve a sense of having truly helped someone who is very much in need. The legal profession provides you with priceless legal and professional skills, but they are skills that are inaccessible for the general public who cannot afford the large fees. Law Works opens the gateway for many and strives to close this gap. Its existence is essential to the local community and I would encourage anyone to join.

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