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British Aerospace's (BAe) legal department is set to become the first in-house team to gain Law Society approval to do pro bono work.
Backed by the Solicitors Pro Bono Group (SPBG), BAe has been lobbying the Law Society for a waiver from its professional conduct rules, which currently state that in-house lawyers can only advise their own company.
BAe is still waiting for formal approval from the Law Society's ethics department, but it is understood that there are no outstanding obstacles.
BAe's legal department, which became the first in-house team join the SPBG in July, has already lined up its first project.
Philip Perrotta, senior legal adviser of its asset management arm, will advise Welwyn & Hatfield Council for Voluntary Services Volunteers on its application for a lottery grant.
Any lottery funds received will be used to establish a furniture renovation venture, where old furniture is collected, refurbished and distributed to needy members of the local community.
BAe's involvement in the scheme has been assisted by Linklaters, one of its main legal advisers.
Perrotta said: "We are very, very proud to be what we believe is the first in-house legal department to do pro bono work." He said he hoped the work would improve the company's profile in the local community.
A Law Society spokesman said: "If it works, there is no reason why more in house lawyers can't become involved. But each applica-tion will be considered on its own merits."