Real pro bono is not a PR exercise

Write to: The Editor, The Lawyer, 50 Poland Street, London W1V 4AX, fax 0171 970 4640, e-mail, DX44700 Soho Square.

I was frankly depressed by your article and leader of 15 March concerning pro bono work.

No one approached my firm. The fact that you describe Wragge & Co as a smaller firm demonstrates very eloquently that firms with less than 100 employees are not worth troubling with.

If I had been asked, I would have confirmed that we have no written pro bono policy. Equally, I would have confirmed that we treat our free legal surgeries and work for charity as PR, if not just good manners, and not pro bono. We do not wear our pro bono work on our sleeve. The point of pro bono work is to be the safety net for that work which is not provided elsewhere and dare I say, as legal aid withers on the vine, this need will increase. The minute you have a written policy, you exclude the very people who need the free help or sometimes merely reassurance.

High street firms deal with pro bono problems (some of which are really quite modest) as and when the need arises.

Colin Chesterton

Beviss & Beckingsale solicitors