LawWorks Pro Bono Conference 2023

The first LawWorks Pro Bono Conference brought together pro bono clinic and law firm coordinators, volunteers and stakeholders from the wider advice sector.

The conference was an opportunity to explore, discuss and celebrate the positive impact pro bono has on communities. 

With the Covid-19 pandemic in the recent past and the impact of the cost of living crisis being felt in households across the country, pro bono services continue to show their resilience and agility in the face of rising demand and increasingly complex legal issues.

If you were unable to join us, or missed a session, you can accessing talking points and presentations from each of the sessions below.

[Please note, as it arrives further content will be added]

Keynote: Joanna Otterburn, Joint CEO, The Law Commission

Morning Panel


Legal needs during the cost of living crisis

This panel discussed the effects of the cost of living crisis on legal need and how pro bono can provide support and guidance to those grappling with the impact of rising costs. The panel included:

  • Ben Saltmarsh, National Energy Action Wales
  • James Sandbach, London Citizens Advice
  • Yasmin Waljee OBE, Hogan Lovells
  • Rebecca Wilkinson, LawWorks


Morning breakout sessions


Setting up and growing your pro bono practice

This session outlined how pro bono coordinators at law firms and inhouse teams establish and expand pro bono programmes. Speakers included

  • Andrew Barton, Norton Rose Fulbright
  • Jo Haas, Visa
  • Emma Rehal-Wilde, Baker McKenzie

Qualifying Work Experience in a pro bono setting

This session explores the role of pro bono work in meeting the requirements for the Solicitors Qualifying Examination route.

  • Lucy Blackburn, Clinical Legal Education Organisation
  • Emma Blackstone, BPP
  • Andrea Todd, Clinical Legal Education Organisation
  • Lucy Wildig, BPP



Pro bono debt advice

This session will outline the current regulations around debt advice and explore how the legal profession may be able to provide support pro bono.

  • Eddie Coppinger, University House
  • Richard Pitkethly, LawWorks
  • James Sandbach, Citizens Advice London


Afternoon breakout sessions


Pro bono and parliamentarians (Mind the Gap)

This session discussed the launch of the 2023 Mind The Gap report, which investigates the growing levels of unmet legal need being seen in MPs’ constituency surgeries.

  • Rohini Jana, Legal Aid Practitioners Group
  • Samuel Lamsdale, Hogan Lovells
  • Hayley Nock, LawWorks
  • Rebecca Wilkinson, LawWorks

Pro bono in the anti-racism space

This session explored how legal professionals can contribute to dismantling systemic racism and promote social justice through pro bono initiatives.

  • Fatima Bhula, LawWorks
  • Sarah Farrelly, Charles Russell Speechlys
  • Faiza Mukith, Islamophobia Response Unit
  • Dr Wanda Wyporska, Black Equity Organisation
  • Matteo Yoon, Herbert Smith Freehills

Housing advice during the cost of living crisis

This session discussed the legal issues surrounding housing and homelessness, and gave practical insights into the pro bono support available to those in need.

  • Matt Dronfield, Toynbee Hall
  • Georgia Nickson, Herbert Smith Freehills
  • Harmit Springett, Centrepoint
  • Siobhan Taylor-Ward, Vauxhall Community Law and Information Centre

Afternoon panel


The power of technology

The afternoon panel discussed the innovative approaches, tools, and platforms that can enhance pro bono practice and impact.

  • Thomas Lowe, Digital Poverty Alliance
  • Francine Ryan, The Open University
  • Deborah Smith, Goldman Sachs
  • Henry Sturm, LawWorks