Our impact

In addition to Plan meetings, our other activities include collaborative pro bono projects with several firms co-ordinating on specific issues.  Our 2018 Infographic provides more information on these and you can see other case studies below.

Our growth

  • 2015: 25 firms reporting a total of 217,495 pro bono hours; average hours per lawyer ranged from 2.7 to 79 hours.
  • 2016: 36 firms reporting a total of 283,839 pro bono hours; average hours per lawyer ranged from 3 to 78 hours.
  • 2017: 36 firms reporting a total of 326,751 pro bono hours; average hours per lawyer ranged from 3 to 109 hours.
  • 2018: 45 firms reporting a total of 343,599 pro bono hours; average hours per lawyer ranged from 1 to 66 hours.

You can view our previous infographics here: 

Case Studies

Domestic Violence & Family Law Legal Clinic

Tower Hamlets has one of the highest rates of reported domestic violence (DV) incidents across London, with an average of 11 DV incidents every day.  DV against women currently accounts for a high proportion of the referrals to Tower Hamlets’ Children’s Social Care, making DV a key child protection issue.  Recognising a need for free legal advice in DV cases, 6 firms (Gibson Dunn; Reed Smith; Ropes & Gray; Shearman & Sterling; Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and Travers Smith), in conjunction with the University House Legal Advice Centre, provide a weekly drop-in DV & Family Law Legal Clinic in Tower Hamlets.  University House triages clients carefully to ensure legal aid is accessed wherever possible.  Since its launch in spring 2016 the Clinic has provided much-needed assistance in over 600 matters.

Legal advice on individual European rights

The AIRE Centre (Advice on Individual Rights in Europe) is a specialist charity promoting awareness of EU law rights for vulnerable individuals.  A key area of work is the provision of free specialist legal advice to front-line agencies on EU law rights for individuals.  The demand for legal advice in this area has grown substantially.  Lawyers from Ashurst, Herbert Smith Freehills and Reed Smith have been trained by expert lawyers at the AIRE Centre on EU free movement law and are now answering some of the requests for legal advice received by the AIRE Centre under the specialist supervision of the AIRE Centre’s lawyers. This assistance has enabled the AIRE Centre to respond to more enquiries.

Disability benefits appeals

Plan firms Dechert; Reed Smith; Ropes & Gray; Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and White & Case are partnering with University House Legal Advice Centre on an advocacy-based scheme to help individuals assert their rights at disability benefits appeal hearings.  Recipients of both Employment and Support Allowance and Personal Independence Payments have been affected by recent welfare cuts, with many turning to food banks for support.  Volunteer lawyers meet with clients to discuss their appeals, then prepare and present a submission to the First Tier Tribunal.  Participating firms have on average an 80–100% success rate on appeal.