Predictions for the 21st Century: the Importance of Engaging with Pro Bono Practice.

Mcguire, Kim orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-2713-8846 (2015) Predictions for the 21st Century: the Importance of Engaging with Pro Bono Practice. In: Association of Law Teachers 50th Anniversary Conference, 29-31 March 2015, Cardiff. (Unpublished)

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With the reductions recently made to legal aid, and the subsequent possibilities for more self-representation in court, and/or the potential for cheaper, or even pro bono advice, from suitably qualified, or suitably supervised students will be recurring issues. Whilst this ‘access for all’ is already provided by, for example, Law Works, the Solicitors pro bono organization, the potential for universities to increasingly provide such opportunities for their students will exist. Whilst meeting a recognized social need, such opportunities will provide students with valuable experience of the ethics of the legal profession, (not always foremost in their minds) as well as the practicalities of ‘problem solving’ in real world contexts.
The fact that many organizations are already working internationally through pro bono work with legal teams and nongovernmental organizations, for example Trust Law Connect, is not currently recognized by many students. However, in a competitive and rapidly changing legal market, both for the provision of services and for recruitment, the value of pro bono work and its relationship to the ethics of the legal profession will be increasingly important. This perceived ‘value’ covers a wide spectrum, from environmental, humanitarian and social issues, including corporate responsibility, to the enhancement of the reputation of the legal profession, the organizations involved, the universities and last, but not least, to the students themselves.
This poster addresses the ethical value of the above issues, highlighting the varied pro bono work already done with individuals and voluntary organizations, and student run initiatives, including those of the University of Central Lancashire, in the UK.

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