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MORE than 100 partners, assistant solicitors and fee earners at Lovell White Durrant have offered to do work for the firm's new pro bono unit which was set up four months ago.
The unit, headed by full-time pro bono officer Yasmin Waljee, is the first to be established by a City firm. Other firms, including Linklaters and Clifford Chance, are planning to follow suit.
Waljee's brief is to significantly boost the amount of pro bono activity being carried out across the firm while putting it on a more official footing.
Waljee monitors the work assigned to fee earners, who mark their time-sheets when doing work for her, in the same way that they would record the time spent doing work for fee-paying clients.
'We're determined that the quality of pro bono work will be of the same standard as all the other work carried out by the firm.' she said.
Since it was set up the unit has taken on work on a pro bono basis from a variety of organisations including the Independent Theatre Council, North Islington Law Centre, the Renewable Energy in the Urban Environment group and the Association of British Credit Unions.
Meanwhile, the Law Society has published research which shows that, on average, solicitors in private practice give 37 hours of free help and advice every year.