The Bar Pro Bono Unit has become Advocate

Advocate logo strapline 1 RGB

As of today we are Advocate; the national charity finding free legal help from barristers in any area of law and in any court or tribunal across England and Wales. The name has changed but we are still the same charity that has helped people get access to justice for more than 20 years.

Facing court can be bewildering and frightening event: no one should have to experience it alone. We want to reach out to more people who cannot afford legal help or are ineligible for legal aid and, through our service, offer the right legal assistance.

Advocate (to rhyme with ‘donate’) has an important new strapline; ‘Finding free legal help from barristers’. With the new name and strapline comes a new logo, together making it easier for the public to understand what the charity does. Our new strapline puts the Bar at the heart of our work. The new brand will help us raise more funds to allow us to support more people than ever before. We will continue to offer our core service of matching litigants in person to volunteer barristers, as well as developing new ways of helping people more effectively.

Jess Campbell, Chief Executive, adds:

“This rebrand will help make Advocate more accessible for those in need of legal assistance while celebrating the vital contribution volunteer barristers make to access to justice. Our previous name – which used legal Latin – was not user-friendly for most of the people coming to us for help.

“Our research showed that the new name made people feel that ‘someone will speak up for them’. Barristers said it made it clear that it is their profession which provides free specialist legal advice, drafting and representation to the most vulnerable in our society. That has always been the charity’s ethos and it will only be strengthened with our new brand and name."

We passionately believe that no-one should face a legal problem alone. Will you help us?

Frequently Asked Questions

How has this been funded?

The work involved in the rebrand has been fully funded by a grant made by the Legal Education Foundation. We worked with Both Associates, who are known within the sector for their work on the Billable Hour campaign.

How will anyone know it is the Bar Pro Bono Unit?

For at least six months we will continue to reference the Bar Pro Bono Unit in email communications, referring to Advocate as “the new name of the Bar Pro Bono Unit”. We are the same charity that works almost entirely through the pro bono efforts of barristers and therefore we will continue to use the words “pro bono”, for example when describing our Pro Bono Champions in chambers, as well as our annual Bar Pro Bono Awards.

Both of our new straplines; “Finding free legal help from barristers” and “The pro bono charity of the Bar” put barristers at the heart of what we do, and will remind all who see our logo and strapline that Advocate is the new name of the Bar Pro Bono Unit.

Is the Bar’s contribution being overlooked?

No. We want to make it clearer to those who need legal help that we are the national charity that works through barristers. In a survey we found that less than 40% of our applicants understood the words “Bar Pro Bono Unit”. Putting the word “barristers” in our primary strapline “Finding free legal help from barristers” indicates to all our applicants that the volunteers who offer legal help through Advocate are barristers. This rebrand gives us a platform to better publicise the pro bono work of the Bar, and shows the pro bono charity of the Bar to be fit for purpose, modern and accessible to all.

Is this the first step to widening the charity?

At the moment we work with a range of legal professionals, including barristers, solicitor advocates and legal executives. Sometimes the support of solicitors and legal executives is vital to a substantial pro bono case. We also recognise that professionals such as solicitor advocates play an important role in ensuring as many as people get access to justice. It is part of our future strategy to explore creative ways to support litigants in person, all the while continuing to put barristers at the very heart of what we do.

Will this lead to a reduction in financial support?

The name “Bar Pro Bono Unit” explains the purpose of the organisation to one audience; the Bar. To another key audience, litigants in person, the name is problematic. Our new name and brand make us significantly more accessible for the people the Bar set us up to help. The many barristers we have consulted appreciate and support our objective to be accessible to litigants in person. Our new name and brand give us an enhanced platform to celebrate the vital contribution the Bar makes to access to justice, and for that reason we are confident that this development will help us raise more funds to support more people than ever before.