Let us work for free, say Brussels-based lawyers

In a rare show of unity trainees across nine international law firms have banded together to call for the establishment of a pro bono committee for UK lawyers based in Brussels.

A group of 10 trainees from Clifford Chance, CMS Cameron McKenna, Coudert Brothers, Dechert, Eversheds, Linklaters, Lovells, Mayer Brown Rowe & Maw and Nabarro Nathanson have drawn up a report in response to the lack of available pro bono work for the 100-plus UK lawyers and trainees based in the city.

It concluded that the conditions needed for successful pro bono activity in Brussels were present and that a high percentage of lawyers wanted to participate.

The report found that 70 per cent of trainees based in Brussels were “willing” or “very willing” to engage in pro bono work and 78 per cent believed their firm would encourage and support this.

However, the report noted that Brussels lacks a co-ordinating entity to organise projects and funding for such a body.

“A remaining problem is the provision of resources from already stretched organisations. This is a matter of prioritising and, hopefully, there may be financial grants from the Department of Constitutional Affairs, the Law Society and/or private and public donors,” said the report.

A copy of the report is available on the Solicitors Pro Bono website from 25 July.