Kim Woods and Daniel Matchett are first year trainees at Irwin Mitchell. Here they detail the firm’s pro bono work, which includes providing monthly legal clinics to the Royal British Legion and Help for Heroes.
As first year trainees, we have the opportunity to become involved in the many pro bono and charitable activities with which Irwin Mitchell is engaged. Indeed, it is this commitment to providing support to the local community, at the heart of Irwin Mitchell’s philosophy, which was a compelling factor in attracting us to the firm. At all levels of the firm, from trainee to partner, Irwin Mitchell is committed to a wide variety of initiatives. A good example of the firm’s commitment to this is the fact that all employees are entitled to two days paid leave to pursue charitable and pro bono work about which they are passionate.
Within the Personal Injury division, a significant aspect of our role is to take initial calls from prospective clients and provide free preliminary legal advice in relation to their potential claim. The scale of the firm means that despite cuts to Legal Aid and other funding, we are still able to provide this service which is beneficial to clients nationwide, particularly in the current economic climate.
There are also other initiatives run by the firm with which we are actively encouraged to become involved, examples of which include:
- Providing free legal advice talks and workshops to organisations at local and national levels. Irwin Mitchell have, for a number of years, provided monthly legal clinics to the Royal British Legion and Help for Heroes. We also offer assistance at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham to provide free legal advice on a wide range of issues;
- Assisting Welfare Officers in providing free advice at various Citizens Advice Bureau offices;
- Ensuring that access to legal advice is truly available to all, specifically ethnic communities.
Free advisory sessions for the Polish community in the North East have seen the firm provide much needed support to this community. We have also been able to support numerous ethnic communities in the West Midlands and South Yorkshire.
As a firm, Irwin Mitchell is committed to providing equal access to education. For instance, we have an internal working group which works to inspire less privileged young people and provide them with opportunities in the market place. Associated with this, we are a member of the PRIME initiative and run work experience placements which give a number of students the chance to gain quality work experience. This offers an insight into the legal environment and helps to develop key skills. We also provide advisory talks to young people about our experiences within the legal sector, the exciting opportunities it offers, and the various routes into a legal career. Alongside this, we run activity days with local schools to provide advice and activities in relation to CV-writing and interview skills. As trainees, we have first-hand experience of assisting with these schemes which are not only rewarding but also help to ensure that the firm recruits the brightest talent from a wide variety of backgrounds.
Irwin Mitchell also has a strong focus on charitable work. Through the Irwin Mitchell Charity Foundation, the firm partners with numerous charitable organisations to arrange and partake in fundraising events. Each office selects a charity to support each year and as members of the Charity Committee, we have first-hand experience of the effort which is made to organise a number of well-supported fundraising events. For example, we recently attended a charity bag packing event in aid of one of our charitable partners which we thoroughly enjoyed. Other members of the firm have recently climbed Ben Nevis and raised significant funds in the process.
We are extremely grateful that we are part of a firm which is of a significant size and national standing yet retains a strong focus on supporting local communities in a wide variety of innovative ways.