Hammonds launches formal pro bono scheme

Hammond Suddards Edge has launched its first formal pro bono scheme

London partner Stephen Tupper is in charge of the scheme, and 25 of the firm’s lawyers have already signed up.

Hammonds lawyers are giving free legal advice at the Paddington Law Centre. The firm has also raised £6,000 for the centre and is looking to double that contribution.
Hammonds staff are also volunteering at a local school helping pupils with literacy, numeracy and IT.

Hammonds doesn’t have provision for its lawyers to record the time they spend on pro bono, even though recording pro bono hours allows firms to assess the time value of the firmwide contribution.

Enterprise and technology partner Stephen Tupper said: “There is one argument that recording additional hours only takes up space on the computer system. You never get down to individual contributions and really use the information effectively.”

Hammonds lawyers can record only chargeable hours, although there are plans to implement a 100-hours per year target for know-how.

The formal pro bono scheme is a huge step forward for Hammonds, which last year did not even respond to The Lawyer’s annual pro bono survey. However, the firm has a long way to go before it has a scheme to rival that of fellow national firm DLA. DLA has a full-time pro bono coordinator and last year 160 of its fee-earners recorded 5,000 pro bono hours.