Monday, December 21, 2009

Pro Bono

Patrick Hume has a nice article in the Irish Times about pro bono legal work:
A piecemeal and ad hoc approach characterises pro bono work in Ireland and thereby limits its potential to respond to unmet need for legal services.

We urgently need a pro bono scheme that can help realise the potential of this form of voluntary service and provide safeguards for both clients and lawyers.

Such a scheme is needed not only to respond to those who require legal assistance and cannot access it but also to provide an opportunity for many lawyers who are currently without work to use their skills during what, it is to be hoped, will be a temporary interruption in their professional employment.

I would just add that Irish legal education is also behind the curve on pro bono. Law schools here are yet to take advantage of the superior learning opportunities offered by integrating clinical education into the curriculum. Pro bono clinics in law schools may be a way to get the profession more involved in pro bono work and improve the quality of the student experience.