Author: Marcus Keppel-Palmer, Associate Head of Department, Pro Bono 

This week is National Pro Bono week running from 6th to 10th November.

This is the 16th annual National Pro Bono Week and is sponsored by the Law Society, Bar Council and CILEx. The aim of the week is to celebrate the breadth and impact of pro bono work undertaken by the legal profession across the year, and to encourage further involvement and development.

National Pro Bono Week is an annual week to recognise the contribution lawyers make, free-of-charge, to many people and organisations in need of legal advice who otherwise would not be able to afford it. UWE’s Pro Bono Unit provides students with opportunities to develop and practice skills associated with their knowledge and studies, across a spectrum from giving legal assistance at the Bristol Civil Justice Centre, preparing Wills and advice on private client matters, advising start-up businesses, advising musicians, filmmakers and animators, to welfare benefits advice with a range of partners.

For Bristol and the Bristol Pro Bono Network (of which UWE is a proud part), the showcase is being held on Monday evening at DAC Beachcroft’s offices. This event is a connecting event with lawyers and pro bono organisations reaching out to each other. HHJ Wildblood will be giving a key talk, followed by a panel about Pro Bono. UWE is being represented by Lindsay Walker and Tish Whitehurst-Goda from its African Prisons Project.

Additionally, during the week UWE students will be running sessions in local schools on the topic of social media and the law. This is part of a national link with the Citizenship Foundation. Farha Chowdhury, Tasmina Juthi and Dan Bell are leading interactive sessions with key stage 4 pupils, alerting them to some of the legal issues around use and misuse of social media.

The Business Advice Clinic has linked up with the Network for Creative Enterprise, based at the Watershed, and this coming week will see students Henry Rees, Matthew Cornforth, Ryan Small and Gabriel Carrera-Mendez providing advice on a range of topics to the start-up businesses in the Network.

Of course, UWE’s pro bono activities will be continuing during the week as normal. This includes the LIP Service (Litigants in Person Service) recognised as Team of the Year at the Bristol Law Society Awards.

 For more information on Pro Bono activities at UWE please see here.