Law Firm in Focus - Shoosmiths
Address of organisation
The Lakes, Northampton, NN4 7SH
What are the main areas of law practised at this firm?
Banking, commercial, competition, corporate, debt recovery, dispute resolution, employment, financial services, IP, IT, insolvency, pensions, planning, public sector, real estate, regulatory, retail, tax. Consumer legal services are provided under the Access legal from Shoosmiths brand.
When did the organisation start carrying out pro bono work?
We launched our first pro bono clinic in Reading in 2009.
How are staff encouraged to become involved in pro bono work?
As a leading law firm, we maintain a commitment to pro bono work, this often being linked to projects that form part of our wider community investment programme and in areas of the law where we have expertise.
We provide advice for our colleagues on what constitutes best pro bono practice and examples of initiatives they might be interested in supporting.
What type of pro bono work does the organisation carry out?
Any advice really that our legal advisers specialise in! A number of colleagues provide individual advice. In addition we provide more formal services through both LawWorks and the Business in the Community ProHelp scheme.
Via LawWorks we support three pre-appointment based clinics in Reading, Northampton and Manchester.
The Reading legal advice centre, co-ordinated by CommuniCare, provides advice on consumer, landlord and tenant, employment, debt, personal injury, insurance and civil litigation.
The Northampton legal advice clinic, co-ordinated by Northampton and District Citizens Advice Bureau provides advice on housing (landlord and tenant), consumer and employment matters.
The Manchester Legal Advice Clinic co-ordinated by the University of Manchester Law School advises on all legal problems except family, welfare benefits and immigration.
In addition we support BiTC’s ProHelp programme in the West and East Midlands, supported by legal advisers in our Birmingham and Nottingham offices respectively.
Please give details of a case that illustrates your organisation’s success with pro bono work?
The CommuniCare clinic at Reading has had a 99% success rate with only two negative comments from clients since the start of the clinic. An example of a successful case is a landlord/tenant case which involved a social landlord who had told the lady she had outstanding rent arrears when in fact they were arrears against her ex husband. She also had to fight the tenancy rights to get it into her sole name. One letter from the clinic solved the issue completely.
To read about Shoosmiths' Pro Bono Co-ordinator, Nicola Ellen, click here.