A&O boosts cash to local law centre

City firm Allen & Overy has announced a substantial increase in the amount of pro bono work and funds which it donates each year to Wandsworth and Merton Law Centre in London.

The firm has agreed to provide £15,000 a year and will start to take on in-house pro bono cases in addition to the advice sessions it runs each week in Battersea.

Up until now the firm has been contributing around £5,000 a year to the centre as part of a joint annual donation of £11,500 made along with Simmons & Simmons and Eversheds.

The extra funding will increase the centre's income from private law firms to £22,000 a year.

The extra work is expected to consist largely of industrial tribunal work and the representation of people being evicted from their homes under the county court duty scheme.

Other cases will include leaseholder cases where people are marginally over the income limits to receive legal aid funding.

Bob Nightingale, the law centre manager, said: “Of course we are delighted about Allen & Overy's extra support. It is a positive response to the constant requests from the Labour Party for City firms to increase their pro bono work.”

Labour spokesman on legal services, Paul Boateng, who will be speaking at the law centre's annual general meeting on Wednesday, said he was encouraged by Allen & Overy's announcement.