How do you encourage your barristers to take pro bono?

I try to highlight how it can really help those that need it, find ways of barristers fitting the work in and also explain the benefits that they may get from it.

How do you think it benefits them?

It benefits them in a number of ways. Providing a sense of good feeling to be able to give something back. It can be great for junior barristers looking for experience or those more senior looking to gain some initial experience in a different field. Barristers often find themselves dealing with clients that are much different from their commercial clients than they would be used to acting for and this can only help with their development.

What benefit do you get from encouraging pro bono?

Some pride at being able to help find assistance for those that are less fortunate. I think that most barristers are keen to provide those that need it with some pro bono help, the encouragement from a clerk is often what can make it happen.

Do you have a special system in place for allocating work?

I do not. It’s all about finding the right people at the right times.

What advice would you give to other clerks or practice managers who are sceptical about pro bono?

If you focus on the benefits that it can provide to all involved, the motivation to assist then goes up. I had an overwhelming response from all sorts of people in the legal profession after last year’s award which highlighted how positively most people look at pro bono work.