Pro Bono Community

Pro Bono Community

At a glance


  • Counselling / advice
  • Education
  • Housing and homelessness
  • Training / employment support

Other details

Geographical remit: 


Pro Bono Community - Addressing The Deficit in Free Legal Advice

In a financial climate which has seen Law Centres and advice agencies closing down and hundreds of thousands fewer people receiving legal advice and assistance, Pro Bono Community is a registered charity which has been set up to increase the amount and quality of advice from well-trained and highly-motivated volunteers, one of the few practical ways of addressing the legal advice deficit created by the removal of government funding.

It is estimated that cuts of £350m in the legal aid budget have led to half a million fewer cases of legal assistance being handled by Law Centres and advice agencies across the United Kingdom every year including 140,000 fewer welfare benefits cases, 110,000 fewer debt cases, 50,000 fewer housing cases and 30,000 fewer employment cases.

Law Centres urgently need well-trained and highly-motivated volunteers to help meet the huge and growing gap between the demand for free legal advice and the capacity of Law Centres and advice agencies to deliver it.


Pro Bono Community (PBC) is a registered charity which was set up in 2013 to provide specialist training equipping law students, trainees and lawyers with the skills and expertise to become effective volunteers and placing them in Law Centres and advice agencies. By training volunteers and providing them with volunteering placements we aim to increase the amount and improve the quality of free legal advice in the areas of law most likely to affect those in poverty or need.

PBC ran a successful pilot training programme between September 2013 and April 2014 and the charity gained its first paying customers in autumn 2014. In its first year of operation, PBC trained cohorts from law firms including Simmons & Simmons, Shearman & Sterling, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Herbert Smith Freehills, Olswang and Linklaters.

PBC has developed modular training courses in a variety of areas of law including welfare benefits, housing, employment, debt and consumer with family and immigration courses under development.

In addition, the Pro Bono Community training course also provides agencies with a co-ordinated volunteer recruitment scheme, placing volunteers with agencies, providing students with practical experience and further reducing the resources agencies need to dedicate to administering recruitment.

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