DWF and the Law Society welcomed a range of universities, third sector organisations and other law firms to a regional roundtable event to increase pro bono engagement and tackle any challenges that may be impacting participation.
The first event of its kind in the North West, held at the firm’s Manchester office, offered a forum to better understand current pro bono activity in the region, discuss barriers to participation within law firms and encourage increased levels of activity in the North.
The roundtable, chaired by Simon Price, associate solicitor and pro bono manager at DWF, and Rebecca Wilkinson, Law Society pro bono policy advisor, was also an opportunity to help solicitors in different regions develop local pro bono networks where they can share advice and best practice, and showcase how the Law Society can help firms overcome challenges.
Simon Price commenting at the event, said: “Access to legal redress is a fundamental need within society and yet there are large sections of our communities who are unable to afford legal advice. Our aim at DWF is to improve access to legal recourse for all, and working closely with the Law Society to spearhead activity we hope to raise the profile of pro bono activity in the North West, and, in turn, help reach more of the people who really need support.
“It was clear from the discussions during the roundtable that there is already some great pro bono work being carried out in the North West, yet there is still much more that could be done. However, the outcomes of the event give real hope for the future that pro bono in the North West can go from strength to strength, and reach many more people in need.”
Rebecca Wilkinson, Law Society pro bono policy advisor, said: "Access to justice is a priority for the Law Society. We know that our members are doing huge amounts of work in this area, and we are keen to support them and help them to work in collaboration across the profession and with their third sector partners.
It is often through collaborative working, that innovative ideas and best practices can be explored and shared. We hope that the Manchester roundtable will be the first of many such events, which help pro bono practitioners and third sector organisations across the country to come together to share their experiences and knowledge. We are delighted to have piloted the event in Manchester at DWF, and look forward to running similar events across the country."
DWF recognises the importance of the corporate responsibility (CR) agenda, and is committed to supporting its people, clients and the communities in which the firm does business. In the last 12 months, DWF’s people have invested over 8,300 hours in community volunteering and pro bono work - the equivalent in value to £1.347 million.