Pro Bono Community aims to improve the quality of advice available to clients of Law Centres and other advice agencies and to make that advice available to greater numbers of people. In order to achieve this, the charity has formed relationships with a variety of Law Centres and advice agencies who will accept volunteers from the scheme whilst the course is running and after it has been completed.
In conjunction with the training, the charity is able to coordinate an agreed number of days of volunteering for participants at Law Centres and other advice agencies although we recognise that some law firms may wish to place trainees through their own pro bono schemes and can assist in placing those involved on these schemes if required to do so.
Administering volunteer placement frees hard-pressed agencies up to redirect training and recruitment resources to core services whilst providing a source of well-qualified and committed volunteers to assist them in their activities.
After the first few sessions, volunteers will be equipped to sit on reception and attend walk-in or telephone clinics. More specifically, we expect early-stage volunteers to be able to: greet clients; explore clients’ problems and situation; assess the risk/urgency of clients’ issues; identify the next steps to be taken; summarise the content of the interview for the client; explain what happens next; and refer the client to a caseworker or other advice agency, if relevant.
By the end of the training, volunteers will be ready to undertake a variety of auxiliary legal activities, such as: factual and legal analysis; legal research; drafting; preparing documents and bundles for Tribunal hearings; taking notes at Tribunal hearings, where relevant; and case management, advisory and advocacy work under supervision from qualified advisors.
Pro Bono Community co-ordinates volunteering opportunities for participants, matching them up with suitable Law Centres and advice agencies and liaising with the agencies to monitor attendance and performance during the course of their placement.