Manchester firm Cobbetts is launching its first firmwide pro bono scheme.
Cobbetts has been allowing its lawyers to record the hours they spend on pro bono work since it adopted a new practice management system in May. Encouraged by the range of activity, managing partner Michael Shaw has decided to turn pro bono into a firmwide initiative, and since May 400 hours have been recorded. So far, Shaw has traced around 30 lawyers who are actively involved in pro bono work - around a quarter of the firm. He has recently decided to give these lawyers and other staff members the opportunity to channel their energies into centralised initiatives. The scheme, said Shaw, will be mainly non-legal and community-based. A senior partner will be allocated the responsibility of running the scheme, but Cobbetts has not yet decided who this will be. "We can't speak too much about the scheme because it's still in the very early stages," said Shaw, although the firm has already signed up to a number of initiatives. Cobbetts has joined community business scheme Pro Help, which aims to match professional services expertise with the needs of small businesses. The firm is also participating in a Shopmobility scheme, which is a local organisation designed to help the homeless, a local credit union and a local preservation trust.