Pro Bono Community’s standard training programmes consist of up to twelve weekly lectures although the scope exists to accommodate different formats including shorter programmes, combined modules and intensive courses over two or three days. The training begins by providing attendees with an introduction to advice work in Law Centres and advice agencies with an emphasis on interpersonal and practical skills.
In the first few sessions, the course looks at the background to the sector, client care, triaging techniques and recent welfare reforms before offering modules in a range of legal disciplines, including welfare rights, employment, housing, debt and consumer law, serving to contextualise the work that those attending will undertake as volunteers and establish a framework upon which they can develop their knowledge. Pro Bono Community is also developing content oriented towards other legal disciplines including family and immigration law.
Pro Bono Community offers clients high levels of flexibility in terms of content, format, schedule, duration and venue, providing bespoke training tailored to clients’ individual needs.
Unless agreed otherwise with individual clients, the course concludes with a formal assessment which learners are required to pass in order to receive their certificate of completion. In conjunction with the course, the charity is able to coordinate an agreed number of days of volunteering for participants at Law Centres and other advice agencies. We recognise that some law firms may wish to place trainees through their own pro bono schemes and can assist in coordinating these placements if required.
Learners attend lectures in cohorts of up to 30 individuals held at clients’ premises or convenient locations in central London. Pro Bono Community will do all it can to ensure the lectures are suitably integrated into attendees’ timetables and work schedules.
The course has been drafted and delivered by industry experts including Professor Sara Chandler of London South Bank University, Sarwan Singh, Deputy Course Director of the BPTC at City Law School, Joanna Kennedy, chief executive of Zacchaeus 2000 Trust, and Robbie Spence of Disability Rights UK with assistance from a range of individuals and organisations including the Law Society, LawWorks, the Bar Pro Bono Unit, Citizens Advice and our participating Law Centres and advice agencies.
Attendees receive a full set of supporting materials and resources including introductory guides to the relevant areas of law, handbooks, precedents, case studies, online resources and learning tools. During and after the course, Pro Bono Community can co-ordinate volunteering opportunities for representatives of clients without existing pro bono schemes, 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.