Pro Bono Week Turns 20!

  • 28/10/2021

The legal profession has always been deeply committed to helping those who are unable to afford legal help, society’s most vulnerable citizens for whom financial circumstances are a barrier to accessing justice. This year, Pro Bono Week will be marking its 20th anniversary from 1st – 5th November, and brings with it a unique opportunity to celebrate and recognise this deep-rooted and longstanding commitment to provide free legal help to those in need.

This 20th anniversary celebration is a key moment in the sector, a moment both to look ahead to the next 20 years of pro bono whilst also shining a spotlight on some of the significant pro bono moments and cases from the past two decades and the inception of this annual celebration. Pro Bono Week’s focus on the future will also coincide with the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow, with climate change being a growing area of pro bono work.

Pro bono work has a vital role to play in ensuring that everyone has access to justice and a fair future, but it should also not be overlooked as valuable experience that enhances both the wellbeing and the professional development of lawyers. It even has a part to play in staff recruitment and retention. We’re particularly excited that this year will feature a ‘Junior Lawyers Day’ on Wednesday 3rd November where we will be focusing on the benefits of and opportunities for pro bono work for legal professionals at the beginning of their careers.

Whether your firm or chambers has a well-established pro bono arm, or whether you are new to legal volunteering and do not know where to start, it couldn’t be easier to get involved in this year’s Pro Bono Week. 2020’s Pro Bono Week saw over 50 events take place across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, involving over 2,000 attendees from all branches of the legal profession. This year, for Pro Bono Week’s 20th anniversary, it is time to reach an even bigger audience as we recognise, celebrate, share and inspire the outstanding contribution of the legal profession to ensuring that everyone gets access to justice.

Firms/chambers who already do pro bono:

  • Submit a stand-out pro bono story to for a chance to be featured through comms and events throughout the week
  • Share your pro bono impact on your website, social media, or at an event (don’t forget to use our ‘I Do Pro Bono’ selfie poster available on
  • Spotlight your pro bono programme/partners
  • Launch a new pro bono initiative
  • Join in with the Great Legal Bake by baking a cake and fundraising for your local advice clinic – have your cake and eat it too at a Pro Bono Fair or lunchtime drop-in where you recruit new pro bono volunteers!

Firms/chambers new to pro bono:

  • Launch a pro bono programme
  • Publish the results of a survey of pro bono work your lawyers/members do
  • Check out for ways to get involved, contact your local advice centre/university clinic for ways you can help
  • Firms can sign the Law Society’s Pro Bono Charter to demonstrate their commitment to improving access to justice
  • Chambers can nominate a Pro Bono Champion to liaise with Advocate, the national charity of the Bar

Whether you are publishing the results of a survey, joining the Pro Bono Connect scheme to bring firms and chambers together, or promoting the Pro Bono Week Volunteering page, we want to hear about it. You can find media resources as well as inspiration and tips for events on the website. If you’re planning an event, get it added to the national calendar online by emailing [email protected].

Finally, make sure you follow Pro Bono Week on Twitter and LinkedIn for all the latest updates on the 20th anniversary Pro Bono Week. Tell us what your plans are, and join us in using this special opportunity to celebrate the legal profession’s everyday – yet extraordinary – commitment to pro bono.

If your firm are getting involved in Pro Bono Week, then please send your stories which we can include in the December 2021 edition of The Messenger. Email: [email protected]