Since the changes to legal aid provision, law firms have discussed how to continue to support those in need, but few have developed innovative solutions that offer pro-bono advice at scale whilst making best use of lawyers’ limited time. Clyde and Co’s innovative use of Skype reaches large numbers of people in need of advice on immigration or employment advice, without having to attend a legal advice clinic. The firm is now looking to replicate and roll out this cost-effective model with the support of BPP, Microsoft and Law Works – significantly increasing the number of people who gain access to justice.
Winner's quote: "We are delighted to have been recognised at the MPF Awards for our Employment and Immigration Skype clinic initiative, which provides much-needed access to justice to people who would otherwise struggle to receive essential legal advice. Based on its great success to date, we hope to expand the existing model to reach even more people, especially those living in hard-to-reach areas. Pro bono remains such an important part of what we can do as employment solicitors to give something back to the community." Heidi Watson, Employment Partner, Clyde & Co
From left: Marcus Brigstocke, Heidi Watson & Louise Zekaria (Clyde & Co) and Patrick O’Meara (Business in the Community)
A&L Goodbody are working with the Irish Refugee Council Independent Law Centre to expand a unique pro bono service for people claiming refugee status in Ireland. Since 2013, the firm has provided over €380k of legal advice to individuals seeking asylum. Over 120 lawyers – including partners and associates – are now involved in this project which is the first collaboration of its kind in Ireland. At a time when legal aid for this type of work is being cut, the A&L Goodbody initiative is providing practical and necessary advice to those in need.