“Pro bono” derives from the Latin “Pro bono publico” which means “for the public good” and originally took the form of voluntary legal services for the disadvantaged. However, it has now expanded to include the provision of other services covering activities that generally aim to help the community. Lord Phillip Sudbury described lawyers involved in pro bono work as those with a conscience, highlighting the grounding aspect of the work.
As University students we have the time, understanding and skills to be able to contribute to the community and there is a lot to be gained from becoming involved in pro bono work. It looks impressive on CVs and applications, and allows students to develop a transferable skills base. Ultimately though, it is the gratifying and inspiring feeling of assisting others which makes the experience so worth it.
Whilst most of our projects are based around legal matters, studying a Law degree is not necessarily required as some of our projects offer general community assistance. For example, our ‘Aspire’ project works with local primary schools and delivers interactive workshops on a variety of topics including the law and human rights.
‘Bars in their Eyes’ is a project which may require a legal background. The project involves sending volunteers to local prisons who give presentations on the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 to aid the prisoners reintegration into the working world upon their release. Last year we were shortlisted by the Attorney General at the National Student Pro Bono Awards to win ‘Best Contribution by a Team of Students,’. This highlighted the society’s commitment to making sure everyone has the opportunity to take part in exciting pro bono work. We look forward to working with you in this coming year.