What is “pro bono”?
“Pro bono” is shorthand for the latin phrase, “pro bono publico”, meaning in the public interest. While it is often used to refer to work that a lawyer does for free, as a favour for someone, its true meaning refers to work that benefits the wider community in some way.
PILA, the Public Interest Law Alliance, describes public interest law as “a way of working for the benefit of marginalised and disadvantaged people. It involves using litigation, law reform and legal education as tools of change.” PILA has been doing fantastic work in the last few years inIreland, linking organisations and community groups with lawyers, who will provide legal expertise for free, because they believe that the goals of the organisation are worthwhile. Lawyers and community groups can sign up via PILA’s website, which is the best source of information about public interest law in Ireland. www.pila.ie
One practical way that a lawyer can work with a community group or charitable organisation to help it to achieve its goals is to provide a free information session to its members. By way of example, these are some of the topics on which I have given talks in the past:
- Irish immigration law in practice: the “hidden remedies”
- Equality at work: your responsibility as an employer.
- Employment law and migrant workers inIreland.
- Discrimination is not OK: your right to equality at work and at play.
- Employment law and disability.
- When is mental health a disability, and when does equality law come into play.
- Setting up and managing a charitable organisation.
- Organising an advocacy campaign: How to plan for success.
If your group would like to organise a free talk in any of these or similar topics, please don’t hesitate to contact me.