Pro Bono Publico means for the ‘good of the public’. Legal pro bono work involves providing free legal assistance to members of the public who would otherwise be unable to afford it. Students in the School of Law are actively involved in serving the local community in this way – and develop their legal skills in the process. At Queen Mary there are two ways of get involved with pro bono work, through either the Queen Mary Pro Bono Society or through our Legal Advice Centre.
Queen Mary Pro Bono Society
The Pro Bono Society is a 350-strong student-led organisation working to increase access to justice; seeking to engage members in volunteering and fundraising activities, as well as creating networking opportunities.
The students who receive placements gain a chance to shadow solicitors. Some students are even assigned research assignments or asked to interview the clients. The experience these placements give students is undeniable, an enviable addition to any resume.
Ahad Baig, LLB
Current president Axel-Charles Monin Nylund tells us more...
Pro bono public means “for the good of the public” and is at the heart of the activities we organise. Our members participate in a range of activities such as volunteering and fundraising for the Whitechapel Mission and Holy Cross Centre; assisting solicitors from big City law firms at free legal advice clinics; organising secondhand book sales; and supporting environmental projects, for example, Energy for Old Fadama, and FIELD. We also focus on developing our members’ skills through career events and workshops. We have recently secured subsidised placements in Singapore, Australia, India, Ghana and South Africa. These internships involve providing legal advice to prison inmates, documenting country profiles, and carrying out legal research.
My favourite event this year was a fundraising lecture given by two former death row inmates: Sunny Peters and Peter Pringle. They spent 15 and 17 years respectively on death row; the story of their wrongful conviction and near-death experience was absolutely incredible.
How would a new student get involved?
The best way to get involved with QMPBS is to apply for a committee position. There are about 30 of these available each year, and they provide you with an opportunity to showcase your skills and accomplish projects. Writing for The Advocate is also a fantastic way to get involved, and is an excellent addition to your CV.
What is The Advocate?
The Advocate is the Pro bono society’s newspaper, providing a platform for students to express their views on legal issues and engage with current events. It is read by some of the top law firms and chambers in the City, many of whom are keen to be involved with the publication and the QMPBS in general.