Pro bono legal costs work

I recently received a telephone message asking if my firm did pro bono work. (The answer is “no”, by the way.)  But this did cause me to pause for thought as it coincided with a report in the Law Society Gazette that: “The value of pro bono work done annually by lawyers has soared to more than £400m. …  That figure does not include the contribution made by in-house solicitors or other legal professionals such as barristers or legal executives”. 

You wouldn’t telephone a plumber and ask if he did pro bono plumbing.  I doubt you would do this regardless of how poor you were or how bad the leak was.  So why are lawyers viewed differently?  Why are some lawyers prepared to give so much of their time for free?  Undoubtedly, a lot of pro bono work is undertaken by lawyers working for Magic Circle firms or leading barristers who earn more money than they can spend and feel the need to “give something back”.  However, this is not the whole answer and there are clearly those on far more modest incomes who also give their time freely.  Well done you.

There are probably a number of legal aid lawyers out there who feel they would be better off switching entirely to pro bono work.  The pay would be about the same but there would be far less forms to complete.

If there are any costs draftsmen out there who do pro bono work, let us know.

5 thoughts on “Pro bono legal costs work

  1. I'm not aware of any draftsmen whom do pro bono work officially, but I do know from some of the expectations and comments of solicitor clients over the years, they do expect the earth, and for you not to charge them for it!

  2. Funny enough, I've come across many Defendants draftsmen or solicitors with the same view, they drag you through extensive negotiations or assessment, then expect you to take a pittance or nothing at all for your work

  3. Pro Bono? How about all the Defendants negotiators, whom demand you provide them with a schedule before a formal bill in order to negotiate, but then come out with all sorts of stupid arguments ("it's not a formal bill and cant be charged for", "its a solicitor/own client charge", "it wont be relied on so it cant be charged for" etc) in refusing to pay even the most modest fee for producing the schedule in the first place !!!

  4. Many lawyers (solicitors, barristers and legal execs) do pro bono work for experience. It's free training and you can 'cut your teeth' in cases where your time is beneficial to the client even if it's your first case.

  5. People don't take issue with paying a plumber because they can readily see the amount of work done and the time take to do it and even a bad plumbing bill usually doesn't exceed 300 quid. Also it is obvious that the total amount of time spent was necessary.

    By contrast solicitors charge wholly unreasonable rates such as £250 per hour +VAT for private work and the nature of the work undertaken and the necessity for it is frequently invisible to the client.

    The bottom line problem is that the whole of the civil legal process in the UK is archaic with vast bundles of paper documents that frequently go unused having to be assembled and long hearings scheduled to decide even simple civil legal matters.

    What is needed is for decisions to be taken on a far simpler set of facts far more quickly with far less paperwork in the lower level courts and tribunals, for all the paperwork to become electronic and for the nonsense of the hearing spending most of its time re-advancing vast parts of the argument found in the bundles to be eliminated.

    People resent the current UK legal system because it is inherently antiquated and outdated and excessively costly due to nonsenses such as the continued separation of the roles of barrister and solicitor.

    I don't speak out of ignorance but out of observation after a dispute over service charges that took two and a half years and many tens of thousands of costs to reach the Lands Tribunal about a dispute originally involving only a few thousand pounds.

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