Right environment for pro bono work

It is refreshing to see a headline and news item respecting the good communal works of the profession as distinct from the propagandist stories emanating from the office of the Lord Chancellor (The Lawyer, 2 June).

Many firms both great and small had been developing a pro bono side to their work for some time and Clifford Chance is to be congratulated on its current move. Likewise the growth of the Solicitors Pro Bono Group is impressive.

May I also mention through your letters page the activities undertaken by the 300 practitioner members of the Environmental Law Foundation (ELF). Since its launch in January 1992, ELF has been offering pro bono support and assistance to groups and community organisations confronted with environmental problems. Members have dealt with 800 cases ranging from helping to despatch letters to judicial review.

Participation in ELF's activities enables firms to develop lines of experience as well as having access to the experience of other practitioners and increasing the local profile of firms. There is also developing a common convergence of interest between commerce and the community, in which development of these particular skills is professionally advantageous.

It has also tapped into a huge reservoir of professional responsiveness and the legal profession is to be commended for this.

Martin Polden. president

ELF, London