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Pro bono and Young Solicitors: Views from the Front Line

Citation: Webley, Lisa (2000) Pro bono and Young Solicitors: Views from the Front Line. Legal Ethics, 3 (2). pp. 152-168. ISSN 1757-8450


Creative Commons: Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0

The value of pro bono publico services provided by the legal profession in the United Kingdom has continued to attract attention. Academic interest has focused upon the ethical context of pro bono work and the interplay between social and professional motivations behind the resurgence of interest in it. One of the reasons sometimes advanced is the inherent altruism of the young. It has, however, been argued that altruism is insufficient unless there is organisational firm-based support for pro bono publico. Further it has been suggested that other pressures, for example commercial pressure on large law firms, are more significant to pro bono uptake by young solicitors. This article outlines the results of quantitative research into the legal services provided pro bono publico by young and trainee solicitors or pro bono according to the definitions advanced by young solicitors themselves. It considers issues of definition, performance and motivation across a range of solicitors firms, from legal aid to large commercial practices. Finally, it addresses the issue of what motivates young lawyers to provide free services and what steps might be taken to increase participation.

Additional Information: Pre-print of article by Lisa Webley published in the Hart journal, Legal Ethics.
Creators: Webley, Lisa and
Official URL:
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Subjects: Law
Keywords: Legal ethics, Legal profession, Lawyers, Pro Bono, solicitors, legal aid, access to justice, professional ethical responsibility,
Divisions: Institute of Advanced Legal Studies
  • 2000 (published)


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