Name of Company:Lovells LLP
Programme Name:10 Year Anniversary of Lovells' Pro Bono Unit
Staff in London:1,400 (700 legal staff)
In 2007 Lovells celebrated the 10 year anniversary of their Pro Bono Unit. The Unit co-ordinates over 450 volunteer lawyers and trainee solicitors who take part in a diverse range of pro bono activity including advocacy work, charity advice, human rights and mainstream corporate matters.
Much of Lovells pro bono work is not high profile but addresses an unmet legal need. Their assistance represents a considerable relief from the anxiety faced by their clients in handling such matters alone. Lovells understanding of the issues affecting pro bono clients, allows them to use litigation expertise in public interest litigation and advocating public policy changes. They use their commercial expertise in a similar way; for example in advising hundreds of charities and start-up social enterprises, who in turn bring immeasurable benefit to their communities.
Examples from the Lovells pro bono programme include: taking referrals in relation to Disability Living Allowance Appeals from Community Links, a charity which helps vulnerable people build a ladder out of poverty; providing volunteer lawyers to attend Bow County Court 7-10 afternoons a month to act as Duty Advisors; working with the National Council for Domestic Violence to provide vital legal assistance to men and women who are victims of domestic abuse but ineligible for legal aid; and building on their knowledge of victim compensation in the UK, to work with British victims of terrorism abroad
Throughout the past 10 years Lovells has ensured that its Pro Bono programme is underpinned by a robust institutional structure. Lovells has a Corporate Responsibility panel that oversee effective policy development and implementation across the areas of pro bono, global community investment, diversity, environment and client facing Corporate Responsibility expertise.
Lovells have developed strong support networks throughout every department of the firm. In each department, they have built up a wealth of expertise and support for new lawyers and trainees undertaking pro bono work for the first time. In addition, they run training sessions on various aspects of our pro bono practice for staff.
In the past 10 years Lovells has provided over 120,000 hours of free legal advice to thousands of pro bono clients. This has included, increasing their pro bono hours from 300 hours of work per year in 1997 to over 16,000 hours per year (2006/07), encouraging over 450 members of legal staff in the London office to get involved with providing pro bono assistance, preventing 10 prisoners from being subjected to death sentences, providing pro bono legal advice to over 500 charities, NGO's and not for profit organisations, and advising over 250 disabled people claim disability living allowance.
"the partnership between our advice team and Lovells is an inspirational example of a mutually beneficial pro bono programme. Without their support, we could not provide the appeals and tribunal service that we need".
- David Robinson, Senior Advisor at Community Links (2005)
Community Links runs an extensive walk in advice service in the London Borough of Newham - one of the poorest areas of Europe. Lovells lawyers have provided free appeals and tribunal representation for clients who are battling with welfare benefit cases.