The Law Society has called for City firms to sponsor the work of high street firms. At the Law Society Conference at the end of 2001, president David McIntosh said: "I'd like to see a pro bono initiative where a major firm sponsors a smaller firm and shares its money."
In his speech, McIntosh had already slammed City firms for ignoring the community service efforts of smaller firms.
He said: "I know community service is valued by our big battalion law firms. Why else do they take such pride in their own impressive pro bono schemes? But I do ask some of them to speak of their appreciation of the value of other lawyers working at the very edge of community service."
But pro bono partners and coordinators at City firms questioned about the scheme could not see it working.
One pro bono partner said: "If fat-cat, hot-shot firms do ever sponsor firms on Walthamstow High Street, they'll only be doing so to assuage their guilt. This will do nothing to advance the social conscience of our employees."