New partnership to promote pro bono opportunities for ‘non-lawyers’

Lady Justice

Launch of new service to connect business operations professionals in the legal sector with volunteering opportunities. 

Reach Volunteering has partnered with Fifth Day to promote pro bono opportunities for ‘non-lawyers’ within the UK legal sector. 

Non-profit organisation Fifth Day has launched a new service for business operations professionals in the legal sector, connecting highly skilled people with high-calibre volunteering opportunities. 

There are currently believed to be some 30,000 professionals working in areas such as IT, BD & Marketing, Finance, HR, Facilities and Secretarial Services in the top 100 UK law firms. Fifth Day aims to encourage those individuals to consider undertaking pro bono assignments from third sector organisations in the same way that lawyers across the profession do. 

Fifth Day also connects talent with projects and Trustee roles through its website, developed in partnership with leading skills-based volunteering organisation Reach Volunteering.

Additionally, Fifth Day is establishing a voluntary ‘Corporate Membership’ programme under which law firms commit to promoting pro bono opportunities among their business operations teams.

Fred Banning, Founder of Fifth Day, says, “I was effectively forced by circumstances to finish work in 2020 after a terminal cancer diagnosis. One of my great regrets was that, while I derived a huge amount of satisfaction from my career, I wished I had done more to use my skills and experience to benefit others. 

The experience of the pandemic has given people a chance to step back and re-evaluate what they want from their lives and careers. It’s no secret that, even before the pandemic, firms were responding to a desire for greater purpose among their employees. That has only been accelerated by Covid. Skills-based volunteering is one way to achieve that.

The legal profession has a proud tradition of pro bono among the fee-earning communities. There is a recognition that pro bono enriches the lives of lawyers and the culture of many law firms; I’d love to see that same ethos permeate business operations teams.”

Janet Thorne, CEO of Reach Volunteering, says, “There is an immense, untapped pool of talent within law firms in specialisms including digital, finance and HR. These highly skilled professionals could be a huge benefit to charities who are often under resourced in these areas and need support for short-term projects or long-term roles such as Trustees. We are proud to be working in partnership with Fifth Day to enable these skilled individuals to volunteer their much needed expertise, by encouraging wider pro bono programmes in law firms.”