Pro Bono – Law For the Public Good
We believe that our firm’s success cannot be viewed in isolation from the broader community in which we live and work, and that we actually have a moral duty to use our position for the benefit of those around us. As a result, we regularly take on work for which we do not charge for, but do however, get an enormous amount of personal satisfaction. In other words, pro bono work.
These are the rules
When we undertake such work we want our efforts and expertise to have the widest and most beneficial impact possible. So we use the following criteria to assess whether or not we are able to work on a pro bono basis:
- Resources and financial means – many of our clients are larger charities, social enterprises or educational institutions undertaking important and worthwhile work. However, the main focus for our pro bono work is on individuals and smaller organisations who cannot afford to pay for specialist legal advice.
- Area of legal specialism – the proposed work must fall within our area of expertise. At the end of the day we are a commercial law firm with a broad range of legal specialisms, but we do not, for example, have the skills to assist with serious social issues such as homelessness or domestic violence.
- Workloads – sometimes we cannot accept new pro bono instructions because our lawyers are already committed to other projects, and we will only take on work if we can do it to the highest of standards and the best of our abilities.
- Public interest – we may be willing to take on a matter pro bono if it raises important or novel legal questions of public interest.
- Viability – we are more likely to be willing to give pro bono advice if we think some initial pro bono support would help an exciting or worthwhile project towards self-sufficiency.
- Conflicts – our professional duties require us to act in the best interests of our clients. So we cannot assist if the work would involve us in a conflict of interests with a client.
- Personal interest – our pro bono work is undertaken by individual lawyers on a voluntary basis. If one of our lawyers has a personal interest in a particular project, it is more likely to be accepted on a pro bono basis.
- Referrals from other organisations – we often take on cases which are referred to us by LawWorks or other third parties. Such referrals will already have been assessed and are more likely to meet our pro bono criteria.
As part of our ongoing commitment to this wonderful region of ours we do genuinely want to help as many organisations as we can. So while we do have a set of rules to follow (well, we are lawyers after all), we can always be flexible in our application of them.
If you have a project in mind and think we might be able to help, please get in touch with your usual Muckle contact, if you have one. Alternatively, Hugh Welch would be more than happy to discuss things with you. His contact details are:
Hugh Welch: 0191 211 7903 or [email protected]
Trustees, Governors and Volunteers
Almost every team at Muckle has charity or education clients, and we actively encourage all our people to get involved in the local community as trustees, governors, or volunteers. To enable them to do so we give everyone up to four half-days as paid leave each year which they can use for this purpose.
So, if you are looking to add to your body of trustees, governors, or volunteers, we may be able to help. To find out, please speak to your usual Muckle contact or Hugh Welch, whose details are above.
Corporate Social Responsibility
Giving pro bono legal advice is only one part of our wider Corporate Social Responsibility programme. If you would like more information about how Muckle LLP supports our community and the environment, please see the Being a Responsible Business page of our website.