Lawyers Across The Country Take Part In A Range Of Events In Support of Access To Justice
This year’s Pro Bono Week has seen lawyers from across Irwin Mitchell taking part in a range of activities in recognition of the importance of free legal advice and access to justice for those people and organisations most vulnerable and in need of support.
Now in its 22nd year, National Pro Bono Week (6-10 November) is the annual opportunity to recognise the support the legal profession gives in the form of free legal help and advice to those most in need.
The three themes for Pro Bono Week in 2023 are: changing lives through bro bono; maximising the impact of pro bono and pro bono within ESG – and how lawyers can help tackle the climate crisis.
The provision of pro bono legal advice is a key area of Irwin Mitchell’s responsible business strategy and the firm’s lawyers have been playing their part this week by giving their time and experience to a range of events.
Sarah Gorvin, who supports the LawWorks Welfare Benefits Advocacy Project, was interviewed by the Law Society in relation to her work on the project.
The project, provides legal representation to people in London who are appealing to the First-tier Tribunal a decision by the Department for Work and Pensions, to remove, reduce or not to grant an award in relation to three benefits: Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Personal Independence Payment (PIP), and Universal Credit. Many of the individuals supported by the project are vulnerable and have a long term, debilitating illness and/or injury.
Earlier this year, together with colleague Darren Adams, and under the supervision of LawWorks’ in-house solicitor, Sarah assisted an individual with sickle cell anaemia who had previously been unsuccessful in their application for Personal Independence Payment (PIP). Success at the resulting hearing saw the individual entitled to the daily living component of PIP, complete with a backdated payment, which has had a life changing impact for them.
A Great Legal Bake fundraiser was organised on 8 and 9 November by the firm’s Sheffield Pro Bono Committee, in support of Support Through Court, a charity providing free assistance to those facing court alone; while Alexis Tulloch from the firm’s Newcastle office, attended the North East Pro Bono summit.
The firm’s National Head of Pro Bono, Richard Kayser and Pro Bono and Volunteering Programme Manager, Clementine Burch both attended Pro Bono Connect’s event at the Supreme Court. The event included an address by Lady Rose, and the launch of the next phase of Pro Bono Connect’s scheme, in conjunction with the National Pro Bono Centre, to extend the Pro Bono Connect model to a wide range of third party experts such as accountants and litigation PR.
Expert Opinion“Pro Bono Week is a great opportunity to remind everyone of the difference lawyers can make to people’s lives by using their skills to help those people who cannot afford access to justice.
“Such people are often the most in need of our support and over the years we have been able to do a lot of good work in the communities in which we all live and work.
“Everyone at Irwin Mitchell is committed to supporting our clients and the wider community and our pro bono work has always formed a key part of our community impact work. Pro Bono is a strong motivation for many of our lawyers and helping those most in need is one of the key motivations for many of us, and why we originally chose the law as a career.
“It’s been great to see so many colleagues taking part in Pro Bono Week again, supporting good causes and sharing their successes over the year. This demonstrates that our commitment to our local communities and ensuring access to justice is as strong as ever at a time when such work has never been more important. We’ll continue to build on this work as a key part of our commitment to becoming a leading responsible business in the weeks and months ahead.” Richard Kayser - Partner