LawWorks Scotland is a national charity run by a Board of Directors drawn from a cross-section of the legal profession and the voluntary sector. Its patron is Dame Elish Angiolini QC, former Lord Advocate and the Principal of St Hugh’s College, Oxford.
LawWorks Scotland aims to address unmet legal need and widen access to justice in communities across Scotland through:
LawWorks Scotland works with partners from across the commercial, public, voluntary and community sectors to develop pro bono legal services. It brokers partnerships between law firms and in-house legal departments and voluntary and community groups to most address unmet legal need in an informed and effective way. LawWorks Scotland draws on the experience and expertise of its members to inform the design and delivery of pro bono services and is proactive in meeting gaps in provision.
LawWorks Scotland has developed a successful pro bono model within Citizens Advice Bureaux. From the establishment of the first pro bono clinic in 2010 in the Leith CAB, run by solicitors from the Government Legal Service in Scotland, this model of pro bono activity has expanded both geographically and in terms of provider to more effectively tackle identified legal need.
In 2011 LawWorks Scotland member, Shepherd and Wedderburn, established pro bono clinics in the East Lothian CABx in Haddington and Musselburgh which have, in the last three years, seen over 140 clients; dealt with a diverse range of legal issues; and involved 48 lawyers in the provision of pro bono legal services. In response to a survey, 100% of clients said that they were satisfied and 89% said that they were “very satisfied” (the highest grading available) with the service provided in the clinics. In March 2014, Shepherd and Wedderburn was the winner of the inaugural pro bono award at the Scott + Co Scottish Legal Awards.
In 2014, a new legal clinic was established involving a unique partnership of West Lothian CAB, the legal department of the Royal Bank of Scotland and Fox and Partners, winners of the Employment Team of the Year at the 2013 Scott + Co Scottish Legal Awards.
“The legal department of RBS is delighted to be supporting the Citizens Advice Bureau, Livingston through Law Works Scotland. Our in-house solicitors have been running a free monthly legal clinic at the Citizens Advice Bureau since August this year and have provided guidance to its clients on a range of legal issues including relationship breakdown, financial disputes and medical negligence. We look forward to continuing to provide this support throughout 2015.”
Will Luker, General Counsel – Litigation, RBS Legal
LawWorks Scotland is currently exploring the expansion of the CABx pro bono model within different communities in Scotland and intends to develop and pilot new models of pro bono provision to address other areas of unmet legal need.
LawWorks Scotland has clearly established links with lawyers and organisations from across the commercial, public and voluntary sectors in Scotland. The ambition of LawWorks Scotland is to have every major law firm and in-house counsel team in Scotland as a member, thereby galvanising a significant level of expertise and skill within the legal profession for the benefit of people and communities across Scotland.
By promoting the benefits of pro bono legal services to people and communities and to individual lawyers and the profession as a whole, LawWorks Scotland seeks to encourage significantly more lawyers to volunteer to provide free legal services in communities throughout Scotland.
The ambition of LawWorks Scotland is to achieve a tipping point in the provision of pro bono legal services in Scotland so that the collective efforts of lawyers who volunteer their time constitutes a significant and effective response to unmet legal need in Scotland.
Become a member of Law Works Scotland