- About the scheme
- The policy
- Applying for insurance cover
- Responsibility for approved pro bono projects
- Collaborating with law firms
- Application form, notes and resources
About the scheme
The LawWorks Professional Indemnity Insurance scheme was launched in June 2019.
LawWorks has provided ‘last resort’ Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) for pro bono legal advice clinics operating on the LawWorks clinics network. LawWorks has worked with our insurers, Travelers, to expand this cover to establish the LawWorks Professional Indemnity Insurance Scheme with a particular focus on encouraging in-house lawyers to undertake pro bono legal work.
The PII Scheme provides free professional indemnity insurance to lawyers working on pro bono projects approved and registered by LawWorks. It is currently available for members of LawWorks.
LawWorks would like to thank the Australian Pro Bono Centre for their assistance in developing the scheme.
Our Practice Guidance: In-house solicitors and pro bono - regulatory issues helps in-house solicitors to understand the rules and regulations that apply when providing pro bono legal services, in a variety of ways and settings. In-house teams and lawyers are encouraged to view the guide when setting up pro bono projects.
The Pro Bono Professional Indemnity Insurance Scheme, held with Travelers, is currently available for members of LawWorks, and can cover:
- working for the Insured and / or their network of clinics affiliated with the Insured, and
- providing legal advice via on-line channels as organised, facilitated and/or arranged by the Insured.
- in-house lawyers and / or law firms working on projects organised by, endorsed by or registered by the Insured
but solely in respect of those activities registered by or undertaken for and on behalf the Insured and / or their network of clinics affiliated with the Insured
Notwithstanding the foregoing the POLICY excludes PROFESSIONAL BUSINESS undertaken by any volunteer with less than two years’ post qualification experience unless they have completed a standard training programme, such training is maintained and regular spot checks are carried out on a sample of their written work. Such checks are to be carried out by a:
- Solicitor or Barrister qualified in England and Wales;
- Registered European lawyer; or
- A qualified foreign lawyer.
with over two years’ post qualification experience.
The insurance can provide cover for pro bono legal work undertaken by lawyers as part of a pro bono project ‘approved’ by and registered with LawWorks.
A “project” can take many forms. For example, it might be legal work for a charity or community organisation; work referred through a pro bono referral scheme or organisation; work as part of a multi-partner project involving a law firm pro bono program; or a single legal case.
The policy is a “safety net” policy so cover will only extend to circumstances where no other PI insurance is available. For example, the PII Scheme will not apply if a lawyer is undertaking pro bono legal work through a law centre and the law centre’s PI insurance provides coverage.
Applying for insurance cover
In order to obtain coverage under the PI Insurance scheme an applicant must first complete the Application Form and submit it to LawWorks for approval. Once approved, the Policy will, subject to the terms and conditions, provide insurance cover for lawyers and paralegals who work on an approved project.
In assessing a proposed pro bono project LawWorks will apply the definition of “pro bono legal work” contained in the Joint Pro Bono Protocol.
PI insurance under the scheme is provided free of charge. LawWorks has paid the policy premium and will cover the excess payable on any claim.
Responsibility for approved pro bono projects
Responsibility for the coordination of each project rests with a Supervising Lawyer, who may appoint another person to be the contact person for communication with LawWorks. However, the proposed Supervising Lawyer must sign the declaration on the Application Form.
The Supervising Lawyer will be responsible for supervising any legal advice being provided by the lawyers and paralegals under the auspices of the project.
Collaborating law firms
LawWorks is willing to consider applications for coverage from law firms collaborating with in house teams on a pro bono project where PII is not otherwise available.
Resources and information
- LawWorks PI insurance scheme application form and notes
- Practice Guidance: In-house solicitors and pro bono - regulatory issues
- Joint Pro Bono Protocol
For more information or to enquire about applying please contact: [email protected]